The best fencing for your chickens depends on where you live and the type of predators you have around. The fence must have openings small enough that your chickens can't squeeze through it and tall enough that they can't fly over it. In addition, it must be strong enough to keep the predators out. Many types of fencing are available, and they are made from nylon, plastic or wire.
Nylon and plastic fencing is fine to keep chickens inside the enclosure because they can't chew their way out. However, it will not take much for predators to chew their way in.
The traditional chicken wire fencing has small hexagonal openings and is available in half inch, 1 inch or 2 inches. It can be found in different gauges, and the smallest gauge number is the strongest. "Raising Chickens for Dummies" emphasizes that while this type of fence will keep chickens in, it does not prevent predators from getting to the chickens. Dogs and raccoons can easily go through chicken wire. In addition, in time it becomes weaker and rusty, making it hard to work with.
Welded wire fencing, such as "rabbit fencing" works well for chickens. It comes in various heights and different-sized openings. According to "Raising Chickens for Dummies," a mesh that is 1 by 2, 2 by 3 or 2 by 4 inches is sufficient for adult chickens. The fence should be 4 or 5 feet high to keep your chickens from escaping. To keep predators from digging under the fence, you can use a spiked steel device, such as Digdefence, which also reinforces the bottom of the fence.
The most effective fences, particularly to keep foxes out of your chicken run, are a very tall fence or an electric fence. Poultry Keeper recommends either a 6-foot- high fence that slopes outward to keep the foxes from climbing in, or a fence that is electrified at the fox's sniffing height. Electrified netting is also available in kits. Although not very strong, it deters predators with an electric shock.
The placement of your chicken coop and run when setting it up and installing fence is important. Fencing will be of no use if you have nearby trees where predators can drop into the run, or hedges where they can climb up and get over the fence.
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