Aiming for coop security? Here’s all that you need to know about chicken wire Vs hardware cloth.
When I started off with my poultry keeping adventures, I had to learn the hard way that there lies a huge difference between chicken wire and hardware mesh or hardware cloth as it is also known as. Since I failed to understand the differences early on, I had to pay the price of losing a couple of my newly hatched chicks to a prying hawk! So, if you are also new to poultry farming and you are planning to make a secure coop for your chickens, this article will help you understand the difference between the two. It is important for you to understand this difference, as it will not only help you save a lot of money, but it will also save you the horror of losing your chickens. A chicken wire is an ideal option as a poultry netting if your primary objective is to keep your chickens confined in a specific area and restrict them from running around. However, the flipside is that it won’t keep away predators from reaching them inside the coop. Where there are chickens, there will be obviously a lot of predators lurking around such as dogs, hawks, and raccoons waiting for that one opportunity to lay their hands on your chickens.
When you are planning for the fence of your coop, you must be aware of the very basic rule in terms of security. The openings in the fence of your coop need to be as small as feasible and the metal needs to have a lower gauge. While you are making your coop, a hardware mesh may seem to be an expensive option as compared to chicken wire; however, it is worth making this investment, since you will be spared from future losses.
Difference between Chicken Wire and Hardware Mesh
Chicken wire, also known as hex netting is a twisted wire mesh that is made out of steel. The openings are usually designed in a hexagonal pattern and it comes in either galvanized or PVC coated material. The flip side of this material is that it can be easily torn down by raccoons and hawks. If your aim is security for your coop, then this is not an ideal option to consider. The only advantage of chicken wire is that it is quite flexible and relatively easier on your pocket, in case your only objective is to confine your chickens in a specified area.
A hardware mesh or hardware cloth is a woven wire mesh that is formed in either a rectangular or square shaped grid. It is available in bare steel, stainless steel, and galvanized steel. The metal gauge used in the manufacturing of hardware mesh is stronger as compared to a chicken wire. If you are looking to secure your coop and protect your chickens, this is an ideal choice for you.
While you are installing the hardware mesh, you should bury it at least around 12 inches below the ground to ensure that no digging can tear it down easily thereby jeopardizing the security of your chickens. The proper burying of the hardware cloth will help to deter any of the above mentioned predators. However, you must wrap the windows of your coop in hardware cloth as well, because if you leave it open, predators such as hawks will be able to easily lift your chickens. When you are installing the hardware cloth, it is recommended that you use screws and washers to secure the material. Avoid using staples as it can be easily taken off. Cover any large opening of one inch or more with hardware mesh.
Instances where you can use chicken wire successfully
Here are a couple of instances where you may use chicken wire successfully:
- Use chicken wire to keep pullets separated from the older chickens inside the chicken coop.
- Use it to keep your chickens out of the garden space.
- You can use chicken wire to temporarily plug holes at the baseline of the fence to keep your chickens within the coop. You can crumple or fold a piece of chicken wire and stuff it in the hole. Later you can make a more permanent fence.
Disadvantages of chicken wire
- Chicken wire may cause injury to your chickens. Since the wire is flimsy, it breaks and falls apart easily and may thereby hurt the feet of your chickens.
- Avoid using chicken wire as flooring for your coop, as it may add to the foot injuries of your birds such as bumble foot.
- The toes of your chicken may get caught in the chicken wire and lead your chickens to break their toes.
- Broken or torn chicken wire may cause eye injuries, cuts, and scratches to your chickens.
Alternative to use instead of chicken wire
As discussed above, it is advisable that you use hardware mesh or hardware cloth as the preferred wire fencing for the security of your coop. Hardware cloth does not bend easily, as it is welded, thereby making it a stronger fencing material.
If your chicken coop has around six windows, ensure that you cover all the windows with hardware cloth with 1 inch square hardware mesh. It is recommended that you either use the ½ inch or 1 inch mesh for greater security. Since hardware cloth is made out of galvanized metal, it is highly durable compared to chicken wire. Ensure that you attach the hardware mesh to the window with the help of screws and a sturdy board in order to hold it in place properly.
Now that you are aware of the differences between chicken wire and hardware mesh, and you pay that extra bit of attention to the safety of your coop, it will pay off in the long run and you will have healthy, happy, and safe chickens.