Best Wire for Chicken Run (5 Great Choices)

One of the most important factors when setting up your coop or chicken coop is safety, both to keep your chickens inside, prevent them from digging into your vegetable garden, and to keep potential predators away. The wire you choose to line your chicken coop and keep your flock safe depends on several factors, including durability and price, but safety should come first on the list.

Chicken wire comes in many forms, from galvanized netting to simple wire mesh, and each has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. In this article, we take a look at the available options and find out which one best fits your unique needs.

5 Best Wire for Chicken Run

1. chicken wire

chicken wire fence

Chicken wire, or netting, is great for holding back chickens, but not great for repelling predators! A dog can easily penetrate chicken nets, especially wire that is several years old. Made of galvanized wire with 1-2-inch hexagonal holes, chicken nets have long been the standard for backyard flocks (hence the name), and they work great—up to a point.

If your flock is not in danger from predators, dogs, or others, a chicken net can work well just to keep your chickens in desired areas or keep them away from your garden. It’s inexpensive, easy to work with, and available almost everywhere. It’s also ideal for top runs to keep eagles and falcons away and to separate your flock when integrating new chicks or roosters.

However, chicken wire is definitely not predator-proof, and is not suitable for ferocious ferrets or raccoons. There is also the possibility of young chicks getting stuck in the hexagonal hole.


  • Inexpensive

  • Easy to work with

  • Easy to bend and shape

  • Easy to find


  • Not durable

  • Easy to rust

  • Not predator proof

2. poultry net

poultry net

Made of hard plastic with varying hole sizes, poultry netting is similar to chicken wire in that it is inexpensive, easy to find, and easy to use. It is similar to chicken wire in terms of use, too, in that it can hold chickens securely but is not great for repelling predators. These are slightly more durable than chicken nets and tend to last longer but usually cost a bit more.

Since it is made of plastic, it is easy for predators to chew on it in seconds and of course it is not predator-proof. This is great for separating chickens and keeping them away from your garden. It’s also perfect for covering the top of your run as protection against aerial predators, but not for much else.


  • Relatively inexpensive

  • Easy to work with

  • Easy to find


  • Not predator proof

3. Welded wire

welding wire fence

Entry wire for chicken coops and coops, inch welding wire is the best and safest choice. It is extremely durable and great for keeping chickens in and predators out and will last for years. For most applications, inch cables are great, but if you really want to be safe, larger sizes are available. However, keep in mind that these are difficult to cut and shape. Welded wire is rigid and retains its shape when you bend it, making it ideal for cages of all shapes and sizes.

The only drawback of welding wire is cost and workability. These are quite expensive, especially the thicker varieties, and are difficult to mold.


  • Predator proof

  • Keep the shape

  • Available in various thickness

  • Durable and long lasting


  • Expensive

  • Difficult to work with

4. Chain link fence

chain-linked chicken

The standard chain link fence found in fences is a great option for chicken runs as well. It lasts for years without rusting and can be easily found used. It’s easy to work with and bends into shape and will keep all the big predators out. You may need to add a smaller net to the bottom of your cage to keep out smaller predators, as snakes and ferrets can easily enter through gaps.

Chain link fences are ideal for larger predators such as dogs and coyotes and are an ideal choice if you have problems with large predators and are setting up a permanent kennel or cage.


  • Very durable

  • Easy to work with

  • Repel big predators

  • Can be found used


  • Expensive if you buy new

  • Won’t repel small predators

5. Electric Mesh Fence

electric fence

Electric fences are ideal for free flocks that you want to keep confined to a specific area without needing to put up a fence. It’s also great for predators and will keep your chickens as well. If you have a large space, electric fencing is an economical way to keep your flock safe. Although an expensive initial purchase, it will usually last for years, although it requires a portable power source that may need to be replaced periodically. For optimal security, attach the electric fence with welded wire or chain link fence. Of course, that wouldn’t be of much help to aerial predators.


  • portable

  • Ideal for large spaces

  • Predator proof

  • Durable


  • Expensive

  • Will not work for eagles or falcons

new chicken divider

Additional Protective Measures

fenced chicken

Even with the right chicken wire, hungry predators will find their way into the coop, and you may need to take extra precautions against these cunning invaders.

Prevent Digging

Almost any predator can hide under your chicken wire and into your coop, including dogs, foxes, and snakes. It’s a good idea to place the mesh under the cage walls and about 1 foot on the floor on either side to prevent digging. It is also recommended to sink your netting at least 6 inches into the soil, as well as adding rocks or broken glass to the soil around the walls to prevent further digging.

Predator Lamp

If you really have a problem with predators, it might be worth the investment to install solar lights around your enclosure. These lights automatically turn on at night and will deter most predators from entering the illuminated area.


rooster crowing

While being woken up by roosters isn’t for everyone, they are experts at guarding their flock. The roosters will make a fuss at the slightest sign of danger and may give you enough time to run outside and protect your flock.

  • You may also be interested in: How to Get Rid of Chickens from Your Garden (13 Tips)

new chicken divider

Final Thoughts

No matter which chicken wire you decide to use, it is arguably one of the most important parts of building your run or coop. It’s a good idea to assess your unique situation carefully to decide which cable to use. If you don’t have a problem with predators, a simple chicken net will work, but if you have a predator threat around your coop, you may want to use a few different types to keep your flock safe.

Ready to make your own running chicken? Check out 15 DIY Chicken Run Plans You Can Make Today (with Pictures)!

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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