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The Fence Post

Enclosures for Rabbits and Chickens

April 1, 2011 | by Frank Langone

Keeping Small Animals Safe

Are there some new bunnies and chicks at your house? Will you be needing wire mesh? Time for a bit of preparation.

  • Will you have to make a cage or build an enclosure to contain your newly acquired animals?             
  • Do you know what kind of wire mesh materials you will need? Here are some answers.

rabbits in hutch

Rabbits: Creating Safe Enclosures 

Baby Saver Unlike standard welded wire mesh which has a 1” x 2” mesh for the entire width, this wire mesh has a ½” x 1” mesh for the bottom 4” which prevents kits from falling or being pulled through the cage.

Rabbit cages are made with welded wire mesh - 14 gauge 1" x 2" mesh for the sides and 16 gauge ½" x 1" for the bottom.

  • Galvanized after weld (GAW) is recommended for the bottom. The extra-thick coating of zinc will stand up to the corrosive potential of urine and feces. GAW wire mesh will last longer.
  • Galvanized before weld (GBW) would not last very long if used on the bottom. It is more economical to use it for the sides and top of the cage, which get little if any exposure to corrosive substances.

Enclosures for Chickens

Once the chicks have outgrown the cardboard box in the house they are ready to be moved outside. What wire mesh will you use to make the pen? It's amazing how vulnerable these young ones are, even in suburban areas. 

Black vinyl coated 1" hexagonal wire mesh, also known as chicken wire or poultry wire, is the perfect product to use for an enclosure. 

  • The PVC coating gives the wire safe protection against rust and corrosion. This fencing material should last for years, saving the cost and inconvenience of replacement and repair.
  • The wire mesh is easy to handle and cut to shape. Staple the netting to wood posts using 14 gauge ¾" poultry staples.
  • Black vinyl-coated hexagonal mesh (or hex mesh) has an attractive appearance. The black color blends with the background becoming virtually invisible. You will be able to see the birds inside the pen.
  • And don't forget mesh or netting for the top of your run's enclosure. Climbing animals and birds of prey will be ready to pounce on your new recruits.

Do you have any ideas or suggestions for using wire mesh to build rabbit cages or chicken pens that would be helpful to others?

chickens behind wire in pen

Vinyl Coated Hexagonal Mesh


Topics: welded wire mesh, baby saver, galvanized after, black vinyl coated

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