No matter how well-behaved they are, we can’t let our dogs roam free in the neighborhood. Some cities have leash laws, and many require registration for dogs, but no matter where you live, you need to have a space for your dog. Have you considered a DIY chicken wire dog fence?
Any fence needs to be fully enclosed, so your dog stays close to home for his safety and the safety of the people in your neighborhood. But fencing can be expensive, especially if you think you have to build a six-foot privacy fence.
Well, you don’t need that much fence in most cases. A DIY chicken wire dog fence can perform the job just as well and for significantly less money. It will also be easier to install. Here’s how!
Before you read this guide, “DIY Chicken Wire Dog Fence: Easy Steps,” check out: Easy DIY Dog Puzzles You and Your Dog Will Love! (2023) and How to Build a DIY Dog Grooming Table! (2023).
Why Use Chicken Wire?
Chicken wire is a mesh product made from thin, galvanized metal wire. Since it’s galvanized, it’s unlikely to rust in the elements. The wire is woven together to form a mesh with hexagonal openings.
The wire ranges from 19- to 22–gauge wire, so you have options for how thick, sturdy, and heavy you want your fencing, and the hexagonal holes range from one-half inch in diameter up to two inches.
The construction of the wire mesh lends malleability to chicken wire without compromising its strength. After all, it’s a metal wire, so it’s unlikely to break.
Chicken wire comes in rolls, and just as you have options for wire thickness and hole size, chicken wire rolls are available in various widths and lengths.
For instance, MTB’s Galvanized Poultry Netting Chicken Wire comes in a roll that’s six feet wide (so your fence would stand up to six feet tall) and 25 feet long. That should be plenty for all but the largest fences.
The key features of a chicken wire fence include:
- It’s more affordable than a wood fence.
- You can easily manipulate chicken wire, so it takes less time and effort to construct a fence than if you used all wood.
- Unlike wooden fencing materials, chicken wire is impervious to termites or maladies like wood rot.
How to Build a Chicken Wire Dog Fence
However, if you have a Great Dane, Rhodesian Ridgeback, or similarly large dog, they might be too much for the wire. Chicken wire is durable, but everything has a breaking point, and we’ve all seen those dogs before that we wonder, “Is that a dog, or a horse?”
But when your dog is a more manageable size, a chicken wire enclosure should more than suffice. There are two kinds of chicken wire dog fences you can build:
- Wooden frame
- T-Post fence
A Wooden Frame Fence
For either of these fences, the first step will be to measure the area where it will sit. The last thing you want is to run out of fencing before you’ve enclosed the whole area.
For these step-by-step guides, we’ll be talking about building a 20-foot, single-sided fence. If you need to construct more than one side, duplicate the steps accordingly.
Wooden frame fences need to be anchored to the fence posts, so you’ll need to mark the spots where those posts will go. Don’t space them more than ten feet apart; the post spacing will depend on the fence’s height. A shorter fence can have posts just a few feet apart.
We’re building a 20-foot fence that’s six feet tall, so we’ll use five 4”x4” posts.
- Dig holes for the fence posts — one at each end of the fence, and the others spaced five feet apart. You’ll need to sink the posts at least one foot deep, but the deeper you set them, the studier they’ll be. If you use eight-foot 4x4s, you can go as deep as two feet.
- Use concrete to fill the holes and set each fence post in position. Use a level to make sure the posts stand up straight. A leaning fence post will look bad and be less structurally sound.
- Once the concrete has set, you can begin unrolling your chicken wire. On one end post, place the chicken wire using staples or nails. A good staple gun can come in handy for many projects, so you wouldn’t be throwing money away if you bought one just for this project. The Stanley SharpShooter is rugged, but since it’s aluminum, it’s not overly heavy.
- Once you have anchored the wire, unroll it to the next fence post. Pull it taut and use the staple gun to attach it to this second post. Keeping the wire straight and taut is of paramount importance. Do this to ensure you don’t have sagging or cattywampus wire, which will look bad.
- You’ll need a gate between two posts (your choice), so don’t string chicken wire across all five posts. Leave an opening so you and your dog can get in and out of the area. Otherwise, finish putting the wire up, and anchor it securely to each fence post.
- The opening will be four feet wide for the gate, so you’ll need to build a wooden frame from 2x4s. Either build two frames two feet wide, or one four-foot frame. Cover the frames with chicken wire, attach hinges to them, and mount them on the fence posts on the opening’s sides you left in the fence.
- For support, you’ll want to nail up 2x4s, running horizontally, between each fence post. For the sturdiest fence, you’ll want three boards between each post — one about one foot above the ground, one in the center of the chicken wire, and one about a foot below the top of the wire.
- Anchor the chicken wire to each support board.
- Install a latching mechanism to keep the gate closed, and you’re in business.
A T-post fence can go up a little faster than one with wooden framing, and it’s more portable than a fence anchored to posts cemented into the ground.
A T-post is a metal fencing post with a T shape to it and studs running along part of its length to help anchor the fencing material.
They are less expensive than those treated 4x4s we used in the wooden frame fence, and you don’t need concrete to anchor them in the ground. Instead, a T-post has a base plate that helps hold it in the ground. All you have to do is drive the post into the dirt, and friction and the base plate will do the rest.
- Drive six T-posts into the ground at four-foot intervals. Take care to drive them straight and in a line.
- You can’t nail or staple the wire to the metal posts, so you’ll need some T-post clips. First, when attaching the wire to the first post, fit it into the post’s studs, then anchor it with the clips.
- As with the wooden frame fence, pull the chicken wire taut as you unroll it to the next T-post. Anchor it as you did in step two, and repeat.
- For a gate, you can either build a wooden frame gate as we did for the wooden frame fence, or you can unclip the wire from the T-post at one end of the fence each time you want to get in or out of the enclosure. This is not as practical as building and hanging a gate, but it’s an option.
Pros and Cons
- A wooden frame fence will cost more, but it may be a better option if you’re concerned with its longevity.
- A T-post fence goes up quickly, comes down even faster, and is the option you want if you plan on moving the fence from time to time.
- A T-post fence works better at shorter heights. A wooden frame fence will work better if you want a six-foot fence, but a four-foot T-post fence will work very well.
What you choose depends on your dog, the area you’re enclosing, your budget, and what you’re comfortable taking on as a project. Either fence will keep most dogs outside in a confined space, but again, a Beagle owner will have different fencing needs than a St. Bernard owner.
Frequently Asked Questions
When it comes to building a DIY chicken wire fence to keep your dog from roaming free, here are some of the most common questions.
Yes, you can. Chicken wire makes for budget-friendly fencing material, it won’t rot, it’s unlikely to break, and it will allow for airflow much more than a wooden privacy fence will.
Chicken wire will almost always stop a dog from digging. To do so, you’ll have to put some of the wire so that it lays flat on the ground. If the edge of the chicken wire sits on the ground, your dog may dig under it.
However, if you have some chicken wire on the ground, your dog won’t be able to dig through it. Either roll out some chicken wire along the fence and cover it with a little dirt or fold a section of wire, so it extends out from the fence at the bottom.
In that case, for instance, if you have a six-foot-wide roll of wire, make your fence five feet tall with one foot of wire coming off the fence on the side where the dog will live.
Only the most determined dog will keep digging once he comes up against the metal wire, and unless he’s freakishly strong, he won’t ever be able to break through that wire.
PVC garden netting is a less expensive fencing option by linear feet than chicken wire. However, you can buy chicken wire in smaller rolls.
If you only need 20 feet of netting but have to buy 100 feet, that’s wasteful. Also, PVC netting is a better option for a T-post fence than a wooden frame fence.
By burying some wire a few inches below the surface at the fence line, you’ll make it so that your dog can’t dig through it. He may dig for a day or two, but once he learns that he can’t get through the wire, he’ll stop digging.
Make sure you have solid posts, string the chicken wire between them, and anchor it to each post. Don’t forget to leave an area open for a gate or some other method of entry.
Conclusion for “DIY Chicken Wire Dog Fence: Easy Steps”
A chicken wire dog fence can be a low-cost, easily installed solution for keeping your dog at home. If you’re worried about other people’s pets, gardens, or garbage, it’s a good solution.
Remember that part of being a good dog owner is keeping your dog safe. If your dog has a fenced area, he’ll stay close to home and not be at risk of getting hit by a car or attacked by wildlife.
If you enjoyed this guide, “DIY Chicken Wire Dog Fence: Easy Steps,” check out:
- How to Find A Break in an Invisible Fence! (2023)
- Dog Traumatized By Electric Fence. What Should I Do? (2023)
- Best Wireless Dog Fence for 1 Acre – Top 6 Picks! (2023)
Learn more by watching “CHEAPEST and EASIEST DIY Dog Fence” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
Why Trust We Love Doodles?
At We Love Doodles, we’re a team of writers, veterinarians, and puppy trainers that love dogs. Our team of qualified experts researches and provides reliable information on a wide range of dog topics. Our reviews are based on customer feedback, hands-on testing, and in-depth analysis. We are fully transparent and honest to our community of dog owners and future owners.