Whether you want to keep your dog in a yard or have second thoughts about GPS-based solutions, a chicken wire fence for dogs might appear like a clever solution. It’s cheap, durable, and rustproof. Not all breeds benefit from a chicken wire fence though. Read on to find out when a chicken wire fence is appropriate, and what risks it may add to your pup.
Answered: Can You Use Chicken Wire For A Dog Fence?
Yes, you can use chicken wire to build a dog fence. With a set of posts, chicken wire, some steel wire and a small set of tools you can create your own dog fence in a matter of hours using our tutorial. A chicken wire dog fence is suitable for smaller dogs. If your pup is bigger, you need to secure the fence using extra material such as professional-grade wire with durable coating.
What Wire Should I Use For Dog Fence?
A chicken wire dog fence is a great and cheap pick for your dog fence. Chicken wire is made from lightweight, hexagonally-shaped mesh based on steel and does an excellent job in different terrain and layouts. Chicken wire fencing is usually 2 feet (60 cm) high and helps to keep small animals at bay. For your dog, you should get two rolls of fence for a minimum height of 4 feet (120 cm).
A chicken wire fence for dogs can primarily be used to keep your dog outside for longer times, discourage digging, and prevent your pup from climbing an additional fence you might have in your yard.
While there are many types of dog fencing, a chicken wire fence for dogs is an inexpensive and easily built DIY solution. If you want to prevent your dog from roaming around, now is the best time to build a chicken wire fence for dogs.
How To Install Chicken Wire Fence For Dogs?
While the list might seem long, the supplies you need are only a few. You probably got most tools at home. Here is the list of supplies needed to build your chicken wire fence for dogs:
List of Required Tools
- [Required] Mesh Fencing. There are a couple of mesh fences that differ in strength. What you will need is a good compromise between security and versatility of the mesh. Wielded wire will be better than a hexagonally-shaped mesh because it has smaller gaps.
- [Required] Posts. A bunch of T-shaped posts should be enough. Alternatively, you can use wooden posts but this might require some gravel to set the posts.
- [Required] Baling Wire. In order to connect the wire fencing to the posts, you will need baling wire. On one side, you can attach it around the post, and to the fence on the other side.
- [Required] Spray Paint, Chalk. To designate the areas in which you place the posts, spray paint will help a lot in planning out the overall layout. As a cheaper alternative, you can use chalk. Make a mark roughly every 8-10 feet (2.5-3 meters).
- [Perhaps At Home] Sledgehammer. A sledgehammer is a necessary tool in setting the posts into the ground.
- [Perhaps At Home] Shovel And Auger. In order to scoop some earth, and fill the holes, you will need a shovel and an auger. An auger facilitates the process of digging but is not strictly necessary.
- [Perhaps At Home] Staple Gun. Some staples are needed to properly attach the chicken wire fence to the posts.
- [Perhaps At Home] Staples. You will need poultry staples, as well as garden staples for enhanced security. Poultry staples hold the baling wire in place, while garden staples attach the chicken wire to the ground.
- [Perhaps At Home] Folding Meter Stick, Tapeline, Laser Level. Either of those is fine.
- [Perhaps At Home] Spirit Level, Phone With Gyroscope Sensor. Either of those is fine, too.
How To Build A Chicken Wire Fence For Dogs
In order to build your own chicken wire fence for dogs, we provide you with a complete tutorial that explains to you all the steps needed.
Here’s how you build a cheap and durable dog fence.
You first start by planning how your fenced area will look like. Then, you mark all areas, dig holes, and insert posts. You attach baling wire to all posts, add chicken wire dog fence, and secure it.
Step 1: Plan Your Fence Layout
Every fence starts with a proper layout. After you got all the tools ready, you can go ahead and start inspecting the area for suitable positions to set your posts in the ground. The ideal soil is rather firm and rock free, but yet soft enough to allow you to comfortably set posts in.
Whether you are aiming to go straight or you need to include some corners to your planned fencing: All posts should be roughly 8-10 feet (2.5-3 meters) apart to hit the soft spot between stability and cost effectiveness. Use spray paint, chalk, or something similar to designate the locations you identified.
Step 2: Place The Posts
After you got the layout ready it is time to start actual ground work. First, you dig holes to set in your corner posts. Use an auger or a shovel to dig a hole for each corner post. The hole should have a minimum depth of 2.5 feet (76 cm) and might need to be deeper depending on the soil in your area. If the soil contains any clay, you need to aim for a deeper hole since clay tends to get soft when the soil is wet.
Set the corner posts in the center of the hole. Use a shovel to fill the hole with soil. Use a spirit level to ensure that your post is straight. Fill it up with soil or gravel until the corner post does not move anymore. If your pup is a medium-sized or larger, your posts may need to be more secure. For this reason, you can add some cement when filling the holes. Remember to position all posts equally far at about 8-10 feet (2.5-3 meters) and have an equal height.
If you have a laser level ready, use the line laser on all posts for an equal height. Otherwise, a folding meter stick or tapeline will do the same.
Step 3: Prepare Your Posts
On each post, set equally high marks to indicate where the top of your fence will be. Aim for the top of the fence, and put a mark about 6 inches (15 cm) below the top. Use tapeline or a folding meter stick to get a similar height on each post. Adjust for accuracy using a spirit level or your phone.
Do not worry about precision too much for now, you can adjust the height later. When you are happy with the height, mark each post (corner posts and line posts) using a sharpie.
Have your steel wire ready. You will need to use steel wire to get a straight line from post to post. The steel wire will be supporting the chicken fence later. Start with attaching the steel wire to a corner post by knotting it around the post.
Step 4: Attach The Steel Wire
For line posts, take the steel wire line and hold it next to the post. Use a spirit level to double-check that the wire is level. If the line is roughly straight, put a poultry staple in the post and gently beat it in, fixing the steel wire. Then, move on to the next line post until you reach a corner post. On the other corner post, tie a termination knot once more.
On each post, you will need to install 3-4 horizontal lines of steel wire, depending on the height of your posts. Aim to vertically separate each line by 12 inches (30 cm). Since we started with installing the first steel wire line on the top higher, we need to work our way down the posts.
From the first steel line, use a ruler or measuring tape and make a new mark 12 in (30 cm) below your first steel line. From the new mark, repeat this process about two or three times, depending on the height of your posts and the elevation.
Once all marks are set, repeat the process of putting the steel wire in different heights. You should now have roughly 3-4 lines of steel wire. In the last few steps, it is time to actually install your chicken wire fence.
Step 5: Attach The Chicken Wire Fence
From your first corner post, roll out the wire fence to the next post and leave the roll there. For correct instalment, it is important that you only roll the wire to the neighboring post. When starting off, you can make your life easier by stapling the chicken wire fence to the top of the first corner post. This way, the fence is held in place as you roll it.
Along the steel wires you put on earlier, use some tie wraps to tie the top of the fence to the highest steel wire between the corner post and its neighboring post. Do not tie them too tight to the steel wire just yet. Put a tie wrap approximately every 2 feet (60 cm). Repeat this process for every steel wire line.
Step 6: How To Precisely Adjust The Chicken Wire Fence
At the corner post, we have to work our way down once more. Secure the top of the fence by putting a couple of poultry staples in.
To get a level start at your first corner post, you want to make sure to line up the chicken wire. For fine adjustment, vertically align the slots of the chicken wire to the post to get a straight pattern down the corner post. Then use the staple gun to secure it. Once the chicken wire fence is aligned on your corner post, move on to the next (line) post.
At a line post, pay attention to how the top of the chicken fence is located in relation to the steel wire. If your chicken wire fence does not align with the top steel wire, it is likely to loose. Remember, the goal is to have a straight line.
Step 7: How To Tighten Loose Wire
You will recognize a loose chicken wire fence by looking at the gap between the top steel wire and the fence wire.
If you noticed that your fence is too loose around the post, here is what to do: Use a screwdriver (preferably a flat head) and poke it through a slot next to the steel line. Wedge the screw driver in the post and pull it sideways to widen the fence slot. Then, apply some force to gently pull up the chicken fence with the screw driver and use the staple gun to connect it to the center of the post. Repeat this process on the same post around all steel wires.
When you feel comfortable that the chicken wire is tight, you can now go ahead and tighten up all tie wraps in between the two posts, and twist the ends off.
Repeat this process for all posts. At the last corner post, use pliers to cut the wire from the roll. Done!
Good To Know When Building A Chicken Wire Fence
Chicken wire fence is a cheapest wire solution and one of the best fences for your dog. But not every yard is the same. It might feel unfamiliar working with wire, the terrain could be rough, or you’d just want to use chicken wire as additional layer to keep your dog in your garden. That’s why we added more resources to help you succeed.
How To Tie A Knot For Your Chicken Wire Fence
To secure your steel wire on all ends of your corner posts, you will need to tie a termination knot. A termination knot is a simple knot you can tie in two simple steps.
First, put the end of the steel wire around the corner post, then grab the end again, and wrap it around the other piece of wire (the longer wire coming from the roll). You want to reach up and around the wire a couple of times. Then, cut off the wire just behind the knot. Done!
Tighten the end of your termination knot with Channellocks (tongue-and-groove pliers). Gently rotate the knotted end of the steel wire by cranking it down. Make sure to not overtighten it, because it may break if there is too much tension on it. For increased sturdiness, use a staple gun on the corner post to secure the steel wire with staples, then use a sledgehammer to get the staples in.
Chicken Wire Fence In Uneven Terrain
Not all gardens are plain. Upon installing the wire fence, you might encounter that the height of your wire fence gets taller than the actual posts. If you got some elevation changes in yours, that is no issue.
Work your way from top to bottom as discussed in this article. Then, lay down any overcoming fence by stepping on it. Lastly, use garden staples to securely attach your wire fence to the ground. This also greatly decreases the chances of your dog or any other animal digging through the fence.
Add Chicken Wire To A Chain Link Fence
Lay down a layer of chicken wire fence on the ground until you hit the corner post of your chain link fence. Bend the side of the chicken fence facing the chain link fence by 90 degrees in order for both fences to overlap.
Then, attach a couple of tie wraps roughly every 2 feet (60 cm) to secure both fences and twist off the edges. Step on the chicken wire fence to flatten it. Add garden straps every 2 feet (60 cm) to connect your chicken wire fence to the ground.
More Questions You Might Have
Whether you already have a chicken wire fence for your dog, or you just got questions along the way, there is a lot that could not go right on your first try. Refer to the questions below that will help you out if you feel stuck.
How Do You Secure A Chicken Wire Fence?
In order to keep chicken wire up and to secure a chicken wire fence, you need to reduce the distance between each post by adding more line posts. The shorter the distance between the posts, the higher fence steadiness is. Set the line posts in the middle between each post.
Especially corner posts bear the highest amount of tension. Another thing you could do is reinforcing existing posts by adding cement in their holes. However, you might need to secure the posts before digging them out and make sure to fixate them until the cement is dry.
If you work with a lot of steel wire, there might be edges that could potentially harm your dog. Make sure that all spiky ends face away from the inside of your garden.
Is Chicken Wire Strong Enough For Dogs?
Mostly toy-sized, small dogs, and some medium-sized dogs benefit from chicken fence because the fence will likely withstand your pup’s force. While chicken wire works for puppies and smaller dogs, it may not be strong enough for your medium-sized dog (and larger ones). Stronger fences that are suitable for bigger dogs are welded wire fences, horse mesh fencing, and wooden fencing.
Chicken wire fence may be unsuitable for larger dog breeds due to its mesh layout in combination with thin wire. For bigger dogs, chicken wire fence might carve in when dented. Your dog might be at risk if you use a chicken wire fence. Sharp edges of the fence might injure your dog.
If you have a large dog, consider buying reinforced mesh horse fencing to build a stable fence. Mesh horse fence is sturdier compared to chicken wire fence for two reasons: the gaps in between the wires are smaller, and the steel is reinforced. Deformation is unlikely, which decreases the chances that your pup gets hurt.
How Far Apart Should Fence Posts Be For Chicken Wire?
A good rule of thumb is to not place the posts further than 8-10 feet (2.5-3 meters) apart. The further the posts are placed from each other, the weaker your fence will be. If your dog is not toy-sized or small, reduce the distance between the fence posts to 5 feet (1.5 meters).
How Many Feet Of Wire Do I Need For A Dog Fence?
A simple answer would be: More than you think. It all depends on your yard layout and the chicken wire you got. Most stores sell chicken wire rolls anywhere from 10 to 50 feet (3-15 meters).
To fence a rectangular yard of 1000 square feet (roughly 100 square meters) you would need 160 feet (50 m) of chicken wire, given that the yard is 16 x 65 feet (5 m x 20 m) in size.
Do You Have To Bury The Wire For A Dog Fence?
It depends. If you want to discourage your dog from digging just behind the fence, you can roll out one layer (1-2 feet, or 30-60 cm) of chicken wire flat over the ground and secure it with garden staples.
But if your dog is a notorious digger, we recommended burying the chicken wire to have an additional underground layer. Bury it 3-5 inches (7-12 cm) below ground level in order to protect it from the elements and to increase its durability.
Is 14 Gauge Wire Strong Enough For A Dog Fence?
Yes, 14 gauge wire is often found in commercial pet fencing and should be strong enough for even larger dog breeds. The smaller the gauge, the stronger your fence will be.
Chicken wire is usually 18 gauge to 22 gauge. Opt for the smallest gauge if you want a durable chicken wire fence for your dog.
Can I Use Any Wire For Dog Fence?
Yes, you can potentially use any wire that does not have sharp edges and is not used for electric fencing. Wires for dog fences are mostly factory-grade wire. This includes most wires you can get at Home Depot or online.
Many wire products will have a vinyl coating that will break over time. The underlying copper gradually gets exposed which will slowly start rusting and break as it is exposed to rain, temperature changes, and dirt.
Chicken wire is a rustproof wire made from thin steel wire and a generally better choice when it comes to outside fencing. The lower the gauge number, the better. There are some small manufacturers that sell heavy chicken wire.
Why Do You Twist Dog Fence Wire?
Twisted wire is used with electronic dog fences to send neutral signals to your dog’s electronic collar, which will not trigger an electric impulse when he crosses the wire. Twisted wire allows to create safe zones and is also used to connect different loops besides the main loop. Different loops allow you to to create additional no-go areas for your dog.
Does A Dog Fence Have To Make A Complete Loop?
No, a dog fence does not have to make a complete loop. A complete loop will only increase the voltage in the fence because electricity will flow in two directions, halving the distance which causes a greater voltage. However, that’s it. Generally, make sure fence is placed securely and there are no gaps in the fence, so there is no potential for your dog to slip through.
Chicken wire fence is a suitable way to keep your dog in your garden. However, its security depends on how far the posts are apart, how strongly they are set in the ground, and the material of the fencing itself. With a few tools and our detailed DIY tutorial, you can build your dog a fence in just one afternoon.
Having all tools at hand, start installing the chicken wire by assessing your yard for surface irregularities and plan your fence layout. Think about where to put the posts and at which distance they will stand to each other. Mark the spots for the posts with spray paint, chalk, or similar. Place the corner posts first by digging holes, inserting the posts, and check with a spirit level. Then place the rest of the posts in equal distances.
Mark each post, then attach steel wire to all posts to draw a straight lie across all posts. Starting off a corner post, bring the chicken wire close to the steel line and roll it out. Use tie wraps to connect the upper or lower end to the steel wire. Fine-adjust the chicken wire and use a staple gun to secure it.
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