What kind of fence keeps out the most varmints?

catherinet(5 IN)July 1, 2009

I asked this in another post, but it didn't get many replies, so I'm re-asking it differently.

We've had a chicken wire fence for a long time, but its only 2' and the bunnies are jumping over it. In the fall, we'd like to put in a more substantial fence. I'm thinking a heavy gauge welded utility wire.....maybe 4' but we'll have to line the bottom with chicken wire, since rabbits can squeeze through the other.

I'd really like a substantial fence without having to line the bottom with chicken wire. I've looked at the "dog fencing" which is 2x2" squares, but it doesn't look strong enough.

For those of you who have lots of rabbits and have a fence that's lasted for years and years, what did you use?

Unfortunately, they just don't make chicken wire like they used to and its no longer as strong.


P.S. I'd like to not use an electric fence.

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I know that concrete-reinforcing wire mesh is a great gardening too and gives a lot of support; and from what I can recall, the holes looked small enough to keep rabbit-sized varmints out but large enough to reach through and harvest. You can get it at hardware stores. Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 3:42PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks pogonip,
I have tomato cages made out of that, and rabbits can get through that with no problem, unfortunately.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 4:10PM
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makete(U.P. of Mi.)

Used to be a welded wire fence called "hog wire". About four feet tall and some times there is a section at the bottom that has smaller mesh of about 1 inch. Real strong stuff, had to be to keep the hog/pigs from getting out. Check for some at your feed store/animals supply/grain mills.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 5:48PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I am faced with the same problem, and will share what I am considering. For better or worse, I have to wait till fall. It's just too hot to dig right now.

I am considering building a picket fence that is about four feet high and then on the inside of it, I am going to staple chicken wire or something like that (they say the holes have to be no more than one inch to keep rabbits out) to keep the little guys from squeezing through the pickets. I already use the electric deer sticks in each bed and they are keeping the deer at bay. Assuming this continues, I will keep them so that I don't need an eight foot fence. It would shade my plants too much.

If anyone has any thoughts, either negative or positive on this idea, I would love to hear them.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 6:09PM
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makete(U.P. of Mi.)

Catherinet go to "Share zone 6 pics please" post and see what, dont remember name, uses. It is around their garden, but I would use it with the small(square) holes down rather than up like it is in the pics. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 7:03PM
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Chicken wire is the most effective to keep out smaller animals like rabbits. Most other fencing they can get through. They are like mice. They can get through the smallest holes! The best thing that I have come up with that is rabbit (unless they dig under), coyote, fox, dog, safe for my chickens and garden is hog or cattle panels ( 16 ft heavy duty panels approx 3 to 4 ft high from the farm supply store) with chicken wire attached around the bottom. I use zip ties to attach the chicken wire. The panels can be cut with bolt cutters.
The dogs help keep the rabbits down as well.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 12:21AM
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daryljurassic(OHIO 6a)

I have had a 5 foot high green vinyl coated metal fence around my garden for the last ten years. Every spring, after the thaw..., I go around and pound the metal "U" posts back down, as needed, a few inches so that the fencing is back in contact with the dirt so the rabbits can't get in. Last year I decided to plant alot of sweet corn. The DAY it was ripe and ready to pick, the raccoons starting climbing the fence and destroying my corn. The even ate some unripe black krim tomatoes... After a few very fustrating days, I added a solar powered electric fence to my arsnel. It worked - bingo! $99 for the unit, $25 for aluminum wire(1/4 mile!!!) and insulators and $20 for rebar stakes. I put 2ft (exposed) tall stakes around the permeter of the garden w/ three strands of eletric wire. The stakes are positioned about 16" away from the fence creating sort of a "mote" I suppose. It took about two hrs to put my electric fence in and that was the last time I had a problem with raccoons. This year I have a lot more corn planted and my first planting should be ripe next week. I feel better this year but I am still keeping my fingers crossed. This year I have so many succesive plantings of corn that I'll have time for plan B, plan C and plan D...(dynamite).

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 11:52AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks everyone!

I was looking at fencing at Menards today, and I'm still thinking about the welded utility wire with chicken wire around the bottom. That's what we have around our big backyard, but it was alot of work. And I'd sure like to keep the fence at 2' so I can climb over it anywhere I want. We're not good with gates, so we'd like to avoid one!

daryljurassic.......thanks for that info about the electric fence. I guess I've been trying to avoid that. Is it hard to mow under/around? Back when I used to grow corn, it was amazing how the coons would always pick it at just the right time!
I recently lost 2 pet chickens to a coon attack, so I'm thinking about an electric wire for the coop/run too. Hey.....I'll just put it around our 33 acres! haha

Do you have any problems with your solar powered fence running out of juice if its cloudy for a few days?
Can the fence hurt an animal? Is it easy to turn off and on?
Thanks for your input everyone!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 4:29PM
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To keep baby rabbits out, you need a minimum of 1" no matter what you use.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 4:45PM
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rick2752(z5 oh)

I have alot of the cattle panels, but the holes are too big as you mentioned. I bought some of the the heavy black plastic netting, and I am going to zip tie the plastic netting to them and fence around the garden. They do sell panels that have small enough holes made for dog kennels but they are about 70 bucks a panel for a 16ft panel. My panels cost about 20 for 16ft and then another 14 for 50ft of the heavy netting. Either way you can get them at tractor supply type store.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 9:25PM
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I know this is an outdated post, but I thought I would share my experience with these pests!

Over here in Wisconsin we run into rabbits all the time and I have had trouble finding a fence that is visually appealing, maintenance free, easy to install, and affordable. A few years ago we decided to create 17 raised beds in our garden, and the original idea was to place chicken wire directly around each raised bed, but based on past experience I knew that having the fencing so close to the garden area makes working in the garden difficult and inefficient. Based on this I decided to enclose the entire garden area with a rabbit fence, leaving a 24â walkway between the beds and the fence allowing for greater mobility when working in the garden.

I did some research to try to find a fence that would fit into the visual aesthetic of our garden, and chicken wire was just too unsightly. Picket fences are visually appealing, but I was turned off by the substantial maintenance season after season. I decided to create my own fence that provided the qualities I was looking for: attractive, maintenance free, lightweight, easy to install and affordable. After doing much research I decided to use copper tubing (to avoid rusting and to match other lawn decorations). I also used polypropylene mesh netting that was designed for rabbit fencing. I created 30 panels that were of two different sizes (4âÂÂx2â or 2âÂÂx2âÂÂ). Creating these panels did not take too long and cost much less than what I had anticipated. From there I used rebar poles to easily install the panels around the garden, including the creation of a swing-gate that made accessing the garden easy! Installing the fence took me an afternoon and that included the trial and error of determining the best way to do it.

Because the fence has exceeded all my expectations, I want to share it with others! I have decided to make and sell the fence panels. Below is a link to the website I have created, and I would love to answer any questions you may have! http://www.deluxerabbitfence.com/

Here is a link that might be useful: Preassembled Rabbit Garden Fence

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 3:19PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Looks good!
But I think around here, the rabbits would chew through that fencing material. Have you had any problems with that yet?
Since we're not really into aesthetics out here in the country, we ended up putting up 4' high utility wire fencing with metal stakes about every 6', and then chicken wire (1" holes) at the bottom. We put cedar 4x4 posts at each corner.

I thought long and hard about the gates, and I ended up just using sections of a cattle panel, lined with utility wire and chicken wire at the bottom. When it's closed, it's just held shut by a small bungee or 2, and does an excellent job and is so easy. I just open one side of it to get into the garden. I could remove the whole thing, if I wanted to get a wheelbarrow or something larger in.

Do you think you'd have problems with people steeling the copper? They do that around here, unfortunately.

I'm glad you're happy with your fence!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 4:28PM
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Thanks so much for your feedback, and I am glad that you found a solution that works for you! Fortunately, we have had no issues with the rabbits chewing through the material. We believe this is because the 1/4" mesh is too small for them to get their nose through! In regards to the copper, we never thought about this! Thank you for raising that concern, definitely something to think about. The tubing is pretty thin, not worth too much at all and our garden is pretty close to the back of our home, deterring any thieves, however if this were to become an issue we would have to come up with a more permanent solution. Thank you again for your comments, they are greatly appreciated!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 11:23AM
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Cats make a great fence against varmints. :-)

We have a 6 foot welded wire fence with plastic garden fence buried about 3 inches and brought up about 6 inches along the welded wire fence to keep the digging animals out. So far (5 years) so good.

We also have 4 outdoor cats.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 12:39PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Here's a pic of the fence we ended up building. We sank cedar 4x4's at each corner, then used metal stakes about every 6' to support utility wire (which has 2x4" openings). Then we lined the bottom with 2' high chicken wire. It has worked out very well.
Like I said above, for the gates, I just cut about 5' sections of cattle panels, lined with the utility wire and also the chicken wire at the bottom. It doesn't have a hinge.......it just sits against the openings of the fence and is held in place with some bungee cords. It was a super easy gate. I was glad I didn't try to get more complicated.
I have alot of vertical trellises in the garden, but I hope you can see the fence well enough.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 1:55PM
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Have you considered galvanized hardware cloth? Maybe it was mentioned earlier under a different name. I used to build my rabbit hutches out of it.

Comes on a roll, is inexpensive, and will definitely last forever. It is heavy wire in half inch squares. That would be way better than chicken wire as a liner. If I recall correctly it comes in different heights.

I got mine at farm supply stores. I think I may have gotten it from Ace last time.

Let us know what you decide,

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 6:12PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

I really like hardware cloth too. I have it over my utility wire for my chicken run.
Just be careful dealing with it. Wear safety goggles and long sleeves! Sometimes it's like wrestling with an alligator! :)

I used chicken wire from menards, and was very displeased with it (for the bottom of my garden fence). It rusted almost immediately. I won't buy it there again.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 8:08PM
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westy1941(Boulder County, CO)

Baby rabbits can get through a 1" hole! I've watched them. Whatever you use, make sure it's less than 1" - I use 1/4" plastic coated metal from any hardware store and sink it into the soil 6" and up over the rest of the metal barriers to a height of about 2". Bunnies are tiny!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 1:53AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

They have special wire fencing called "Rabbit Fence" The opening near the ground are smaller but wider toward the top. I think its about 24" high. Anyway, it is designed to fend off rabbits.

Sold at HD.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 2:22AM
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