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How to install a chicken wire fence

Updated November 21, 2016

Chicken wire, rabbit wire and poultry netting are all common names for the fine, bendable wire with hexagonal gaps popular for fencing, reinforcing stucco, building animal cages or creating parade floats. Available with gaps of ½ inch, 1 inch or 2 inch, chicken wire can be found in wire gauges ranging from 19 to 22 in hardware and farming supply stores. By following the directions below, you will be able to install a simple chicken wire fence that will be effective for containing small animals or for keeping them out of your garden.

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  1. Determine how much fence you need. Mark off the area for your fence with small wooden stakes. Measure the distance between the stakes. Add the measurements together. This is the length of your fence. If the length of your fencing is not evenly divisible by 5, add on extra feet until it is.

  2. Determine how many stakes you need to build your fence. Take the length of your fence and divide by 5. This is the number of chicken wire stakes you need.

  3. Tie a string from one wooden stake to the next, connecting them all. The string serves as a guide for setting the chicken wire stakes.

  4. Begin with the corners. Using the sledge hammer, pound the chicken wire stakes into the ground until the metal flange at the bottom of the stake has been driven completely underground. Once the corners are set, place a stake every five feet between them.

  5. Pry the metal hooks on the chicken wire stakes open with a screwdriver.

  6. Hook the wire of the fencing into the stake hooks, making sure the bottom of the chicken wire is flush with the ground to keep animals from going underneath it.

  7. Close the hook around the chicken wire, binding it to the stake. To do this, hold the sledge hammer behind the stake and pound the hook shut with a regular hammer.

  8. Use the tent stakes to hold the chicken wire to the ground, hooking them through the wire and pounding them firmly into the soil.

  9. Tip

    Chicken wire is only good for fencing in (or out) animals weighing less than 9.07 Kilogram. Extra chicken wire can also be used to construct cages.


    Make sure you leave yourself a way to get in and out of your fence. If you're putting up a fence to keep something out, make sure it isn't there when you begin to build or you may fence it in instead.

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Things You'll Need

  • Chicken wire fencing (3 feet high)
  • Chicken wire stakes (4 feet long)
  • Screw driver
  • Small sledge hammer
  • Measuring tape
  • Small wooden garden stakes
  • String
  • Standard hammer
  • Tent stakes

About the Author

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.

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