The chicken wire fence is an easy to assemble and affordable alternative to chain link fences that is perfect for backyards, gardens, or as a trellis! Because they are see-through, unlike wooden fences, they do not obstruct the view and can highlight your existing landscaping. Chicken wire fences, as you probably expect from the name, got their start on farms enclosing chicken coops. Now, they have become commonplace in urban settings as well as rural ones because of their versatility and ease as a DIY project!
Chicken wire refers to the galvanized steel wire strands that are used to create the mesh fence that traditionally surrounds a chicken coop. They are typically found in rural settings as a farm fence or surrounding chicken runs and are used to keep small animals like chickens in their pens. They are also effective at keeping out predators. However, chicken wire fences have also started becoming trendy in other settings far from farms. Chicken wire fences can be used as a backyard fence, a garden fence, or a dog fence. They have a similar look to a hog wire fence, and are a trendy and affordable alternative to chain link fences.
Chicken wire fences are a great DIY fence project and have many advantages over other types of fences. Chicken wire fences are affordable because the cost of materials is low compared to wood fences, metal fences or vinyl - or PVC - fences. This type of fence is also comparatively easy to install yourself as a DIY project to fence in your backyard or as a garden fence. They are effective at keeping critters like raccoons out. Chicken wire fences are better at this than wood fences or chain link fences because they can be extended underground to keep animals from digging their way underneath and into your chicken pen.
There are relatively few tools and materials needed to install a chicken wire fence compared to other types of fences. That makes building a chicken wire fence the perfect DIY project to improve your curb appeal!
Post hole digger
Sledge hammer (or post driver)
Heavy duty stapler
Spray paint (or stakes and twine)
T posts (or wooden posts)
Framing lumber (2x3’s, 2x4’s, or 2x6’s cut to length)
Chicken wire mesh
Now that you have all of your tools and materials gathered, it is time for step one of your DIY project to build a chicken wire fence. These steps will explain the process of this fence installation and detail how to construct a chicken wire fence to surround your chicken pen. Keep in mind, these steps can be applied to installing a chicken wire fence for other purposes as well - as a garden fence or backyard fence, for example. To begin installation, first outline the desired path of the fence using spray paint or stakes and twine. Next, make sure that the path is correct and clearly marked so that you can accurately construct the fence.
Next, it is time to decide what you want to do for fence posts. There are two options: T-posts or U-posts - which are metal posts - or wooden fence posts. If you use T or U-posts, then you will need to construct a frame using framing lumber to attach to the posts after they are set up. If you use wooden fence posts, you will add top and bottom rails after those are in place. To install T or U-posts, you will simply need a sledge hammer to drive them into place. For wooden fence posts, use your post hole digger or shovel to dig holes first and then place the wooden fence post in the holes. Install your fence posts in the spots that you had pre-measured in step one, and ensure they are buried at least six inches deep. You can fill the hole in with dirt and would not need concrete for your post holes. Each post should be evenly spaced and no more than ten feet apart.
The first part of this step is specific to chicken wire fences that will be used to actually house chickens or other animals that other critters like raccoons might want to eat. In the case of chicken pens and chicken coops, some of the predators will try to dig under the fence - hence the trench! You will want to dig a trench all the way along the path of your chicken wire fence about one foot deep between posts. Meanwhile, begin to create the wooden frame that will outline each section of your chicken wire fence. Lay out the framing lumber and using framing nails and a hammer, connect the pieces until it creates a frame the same size as the area between two posts. This frame should be measured and built to have the bottom edge of the wooden frame in the one foot deep trench you created as a means to keep out animals who try to dig under the fence. If you did not need to dig a trench, then the wooden frame should be measured out to fit the space between posts and does not need to be a little taller to compensate for the trench.
Now that you have your posts set up, and your trenches created if they are necessary, it is time to attach your chicken wire mesh to the posts. You will have hopefully purchased the same height of posts as your chicken wire - for example 6 foot tall chicken wire mesh for a 6 foot tall post. Unroll the mesh and align one edge of the chicken wire with your first fence post or wood frame edge. You can use zip ties to attach the wire mesh to the T-posts until you are able to staple it onto the wooden frame.
Now that you have your chicken wire mesh all lined up with your post, use poultry staples to secure the galvanized steel wire to the top, center and bottom of the first fence post or wood frame edge. The next part of this process will require a partner or friend who can help. Enlist your partner to stretch the wire mesh to the next post and then secure it using poultry staples. These can either be stapled in with a heavy duty stapler, or they can be hammered in as well. Keep repeating this process throughout each section of the fence.
Once you have finished installing your chicken wire mesh to your posts or wooden frames, if there is any excess chicken wire you can use wire cutters to trim that off. This ensures a neat and tidy appearance, as well as removing any potential sharp points that could injure someone.
Although this is a fairly simple project compared to installing other types of fences, if you have never built any type of fence before it can be a little daunting. Let’s go over some common questions that come up while planning your DIY project to install a chicken wire fence.
The process of securing chicken wire to posts is actually quite simple! And you only need one tool - either a heavy duty stapler or a hammer - and the correct quantity of poultry staples. You will need to staple the chicken wire mesh three times along each post section, and then along the top and bottom (if applicable) wooden frames. So be sure to do some calculations ahead of time so that when you go to your local home improvement store, like Home Depot, or online at Amazon, you have a general idea of how many staples you will need. Keep in mind that you can use zip ties to temporarily attach the wire mesh to the posts if you need to before getting to the staples.
If you are building a chicken wire fence to actually house chickens - instead of building it for your backyard to keep small children or pets inside or as a garden fence - then extending the fence underground is important. Animals that eat chickens will try to dig underneath the fence to get into the chicken pen. After you plan out the path of your fence, and install your fence posts, you will need to dig a trench about one foot deep from one post to the next. Repeat this process for the entire length of your fence. Next you insert the wooden frame that will have the chicken wire mesh attached to it into the trench. That way, the fence extends underground and animals cannot get through.
If you are building an average sized chicken wire fence, this project can be completed in a day or two. If it is a small garden fence, you may actually be able to install it in a matter of hours. Some factors that affect the length of time you need to build the fence include the desired length of fence and whether or not you need to dig a trench along the path of the fence to keep out critters or not. If you also need to install a fence gate, plan for additional time on this as it has its own separate set of steps to complete.