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chicken fence ideas

So you’re building you’re your own chicken run and it’s a bit daunting. But it’s not the time to panic, you’ve got this! Whether you plan to set up an expansive run for free-ranging in your back garden or to upgrade your existing coop, it’s fairly easy to create a safe and inviting enclosure for your feathered friends. Here are 5 chicken fence ideas to get you started.

Key considerations for building your chicken run

Before we get to our chicken fence ideas, however, it’s worth thinking about what your enclosure needs to provide for your hens so that they experience a good quality of life. While the core list of must-haves isn’t extensive, you should consider the following aspects. (Skip to our chicken fence material ideas here)

Working out how much chicken fence is required

When it comes to space, keeping chickens is no different from any other small animal. Whether you’re planning to keep them confined or to let them free-range, your chicken run needs to be the right size for the number of birds you are raising. Even if you are limited by how much property you’re working with, an accommodating chicken run is essential to their health and wellbeing.

This means leaving a minimum of 8 square feet per chicken for standard breeds, and 15 square feet for heavier breeds. Of course, if your birds are big personalities, you may want to go even bigger.

Either way, make sure to purchase enough chicken fencing to accommodate these requirements. If you opt for wooden fence posts and panelling use our handy fencing calculator to speed things up – all you need to do is input your measurements and materials, and we’ll handle the rest!

Chicken run placement

No two chicken runs are the same when it comes to placement. The position of your chicken run will hinge upon your property and its peculiarities, although there are several universal guidelines you should abide by. Here are just a few that you should consider:

  • Distance from your home and the chicken coop
  • Proximity to feed and water supply
  • Being considerate to neighbours (keeping odour and flies away from their property)
  • Sunshine and shade
  • Ground level (you want to avoid boggy spots and allow for water run-off)

Protecting your animals from predators

If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of chicken-keeping, free-ranging sounds like an attractive option: your hens will have a full life milling about under blue skies and you get richer eggs from healthier chickens. What’s not to love?

If you’re a more experienced poultry owner, you’ll know it’s not quite that simple. Your birds exploring your back garden free range calls for a proper chicken run that will protect them from predators such as foxes and dogs.

Before you set up your fencing, consider extra protections that will safeguard your birds. Have you taken steps to prevent predators from burying underneath your fence? Can your chickens fly over your fences? Are your fences sturdy enough and windproof if you live in an exposed area?

Furnishing and landscaping your run

Implementing enrichment to your chicken run in the form of ladders, perches, logs, tunnels, stumps and chicken-friendly plants is a shortcut to a happy and healthy flock. These additions will keep your animals active and stimulated, reducing bad behaviours and promoting natural ones.

wooden chicken fence ideas

5  practical chicken fence material ideas to keep your feathered friends safe

1.     Get your hands on some stock fencing

When it comes to agricultural or hobby farm fencing, stock netting is often associated with keeping animals – it’s in the name. Stock fencing is a versatile option, popular for fencing in poultry and other small animals as the woven metal creates a durable barrier that allows you to peer in and keep tabs on your pets.

Advantages of stock fencing

  • Popular – stock fencing is readily available from most hardware or outdoor stores.
  • Cost-effective – compared to other chicken fence ideas, this option is relatively cheap.
  • Versatile – this material is flexible, allowing fences to hug the nooks and crannies of your property and for you to get creative with the shape of your chicken run.
  • Allows more light into the enclosure than wood panelling.
  • Easily attached to various types of fence posts.

Disadvantages of stock fencing

  • Not quite as durable as other options – predators can eventually break through this type of fencing without the right maintenance e.g., foxes might tunnel underneath to squeeze through.
  • Less aesthetically pleasing.
  • Eventual sagging and rusting if poor quality.

wire mesh chicken fence ideas

2.     Create an organic feel with a wooden fence

Not everyone is a fan of wire fences. In fact, many resign classic chicken wire to the category of ugly. So, if you’re looking for something more in line with the contemporary farmhouse style, a neat wooden fence might just do the trick. Strong and well-equipped to deal with the elements, they sure do make good investments.

Advantages of wooden fencing

  • Durable and windproof – the posts are a lot stronger than those typically used with wire fence.
  • Safer – wooden fences can be embedded in the ground to prevent predators from getting underneath.
  • Easily attach an overhead cover to protect your birds from flying predators.
  • More natural, aesthetically pleasing look.

Disadvantages of wooden fencing

  • Obscured view of your chickens through the panels.
  • May cast a larger shadow and let in less natural light.
  • Higher upfront costs – more expensive than chicken wire fencing.
  • More difficult to install – requires some digging, which will be difficult in rocky terrain.

Top tip: we recommend using wooden posts with all wire fencing; this will ensure that the wire mesh is properly reinforced against high winds and predators – ideal if you’re building your chicken run in windy highland areas. Embed your wooden stakes firmly in the ground and rest assured that the wire won’t loosen over time.

wooden chicken fence ideas

3.     Opt for electrical netting

If you are particularly worried about predators such as foxes and dogs harming your animals, electrical fencing is a great way to go. While an electric fence can be a more expensive initial investment it pays off by keeping your chickens safely fenced in.

Advantages of electric fencing

  • Combine with other types of fencing for added security.
  • Relatively easy to set up and maintain.
  • Keeps larger predators and other animals out.
  • Can be relocated easily.

Disadvantages of electric fencing

  • More expensive start-off costs.
  • Higher maintenance – requires periodical maintenance checks.
  • Less attractive than wood.
  • With electric fencing, it’s often more difficult to add overhead cover.

electric chicken fence ideas

4.     Mix and wood and wire fencing

Another chicken fence idea – and by far the best – which provides ample strength involves the use of both wooden fencing and wire mesh. This could take the form of standard wire fencing matched with wooden fence posts or a split rail fence reinforced with wire mesh.

Of the pair, split rail fencing provides greater support, although it is more difficult to install. You may also want to dig it into the ground and add mesh to the underside to prevent predators or vermin from getting to your precious eggs.

The best of both worlds

Considering the pros and cons of the previous chicken fence types, combining a wooden fence with chicken wire provides the best of both worlds. Exploit the durability of wooden posts and the ability to see through the wire mesh.

What’s more, fixing the mesh to the posts is fairly easy and will prevent the wire from sagging. The only downside is that they may be more complicated to install.

one of the best chicken fence ideas

5.     Go tall with 6ft fencing

Ideally, your chicken fence should be at least four feet tall, and taller if you’ve opted for a lightweight breed that likes to fly. This will keep them from straying too far whilst keeping predators at bay. Hence why a 6-foot fence is a great idea when keeping poultry.

Advantages of going tall

  • Healthier – allows your chickens the freedom to flap about a little (given their flight feathers are clipped), keeping them stimulated and well-exercised.
  • Safer – keeps predators out and prevents your birds from flying away.
  • Applicable to many types of fences made from both wood and wire.

 Disadvantages of going tall

  • Blocks the view – less subtle and more of an eyesore than shorter fences.
  • Potentially casts a larger shadow and lets in less light.
  • More expensive than a shorter fence.
  • Only suited to larger scale runs or on farms.
  • More difficult to attach an overhead mesh onto – you’ll need a ladder!

Any bad ideas?

It might come as a surprise to fresher-faced owners, but chicken wire, otherwise known as wire netting isn’t the best option when it comes to fencing in your chickens.

Despite its name and its enduring popularity, chicken wire won’t do your birds any favours if it’s not reinforced with other materials such as wooden posts and panelling.

Advantages of chicken wire

  • Chicken wire is one of the cheapest options on the market.
  • It’s fairly easy to move and adapt to your needs.
  • The gaps in the mesh allow you to keep an eye on your birds.
  • It allows for a lot of light to flood through

Disadvantages of chicken wire

  • It’s the least durable option and will rust and degrade over time.
  • It’s difficult to build an overnight cover to accompany it.
  • Predators can easily get through if it’s not reinforced by wooden posts or buried in the ground.
  • Vermin such as rats can sometimes bite through it.

Time to wrap things up

Et voila! Five chicken fence ideas that you can use to reinforce your chicken run’s security and get your feathered friends’ homes looking spick and span. Now, all that’s left is to get your project started – with all this inspiration, there’s no need to wing it.

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