What is a Chicken Wire Fence?

Troy Holmes

There a many types of fences available that are specifically designed for livestock and farm animals. A chicken wire fence is a special wire fence made with a small cutout pattern. This is typically used as a fence for chickens because it protects the poultry from rodents or other predators, while providing adequate sunshine and fresh air for the animals.

A measuring tape to install a chicken wire fence.
A measuring tape to install a chicken wire fence.

A chicken wire fence is made from steel or other metal. This material is woven together to form a mesh fence form that is difficult to eat or chew. It is available in multiple patterns including squares, circles, or zigzags and is normally unpainted.

Chicken wire fences are good for protecting animals, since they are difficult to chew through.
Chicken wire fences are good for protecting animals, since they are difficult to chew through.

When designing a fence area, it is important to determine the dimensions that will be fenced before beginning the project. This is best accomplished by staking out the fence area with small wooden stakes and using a measuring tape to determine the total fence needed. These measurements should be used as a guide when buying the necessary chicken wire fence material for the project.

A wire fence requires fence poles to hold the mesh fence into place. These fence poles should be attached to the fence with wire tie ends. It is a good practice to include a wire tie end at 1-foot (30.48-cm) increments. This will provide structural support for the meshed fence material.

A garden fence is a fence designed to keep wildlife away from planted fruits and vegetables. A chicken wire fence is a good option for a garden fence because it is easy to install and manage. These fences can be made at an optimal height to enable the gardener easy entry while keeping small animals away.

A chicken wire fence can also be used as an electrically charged barrier for larger animals. This is accomplished by connecting an electric wire to the metal fence. This wire is then connected to a power supply from a building or home. An electric fence can be dangerous for humans and should always be marked with warning signs.

Many predators can penetrate a wire fence by digging under the fenced area. This risk can be mitigated by creating a large trench around the dimensions of the fence. The wire fence can then be inserted into the trench area and buried to the fence pole height. This will make the fence more difficult to infiltrate because a wire mesh will be uncovered after several feet of digging.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


I don't think it's generally that good of an idea to try and use chicken wire as an electric fence. It will spread the charge out too much and there are too many places where the fence might be grounded. It's also too easy for an animal to bolt into the fence and end up getting caught.

Plus, generally you don't really want to electrocute animals small enough to need that kind of woven wire fence.

You're better off having chicken wire with a temporary electric fence strung around the inside, if you must have both.

Particularly if you have young stock, because they will associate the chicken wire with the shock even if it doesn't come from it directly, and they'll be trained to avoid chicken wire even when there isn't an electric fence nearby, which can be handy.


@croydon - Yeah, the good thing about chicken wire netting is that the grass will grow up through it and it's generally not too hard on feet as long as it's flat on the ground. So you can use it to make the floor of a mobile chicken or rabbit hutch without having to worry about hurting them or letting them out by accident.

You just shift the hutch whenever they wear down the grass in a particular place. You do have to be careful that the wire doesn't snap or otherwise bend though, because it can become sharp and hurt your animals quite easily.

Oh and it's a good idea to try and get wire that's small enough that sparrows aren't going to be able to get in. They will go after your chicken feed otherwise and might get trapped.


If you don't want to build a trench, another method of preventing animals from digging their way in or out of an area is to lay down a perimeter of galvanized chicken wire on the ground so that they are deterred from digging.

This might not stop animals that are champion diggers and can dig very long holes, but we found it was fairly effective for keeping rabbits in an enclosure without losing any. If anything got in or out of that wire we didn't know about it.

Post your comments
Forgot password?