How to Stretch Chicken Wire

Chicken wire.

Chicken wire is handy to have around for a variety of reasons. It's great to keep chickens, critters, and other pests out of your garden, or to keep chicken and other livestock fenced in. The only problem is that it doesn’t have much support, and when you buy chicken wire rolls it can be difficult to stretch. You need to be able to stretch it out to build your fence and, unlike cattle panels or wires with more support, dealing with chicken wire can be tricky. Knowing a few tips will help you build a sturdier fence and not waste wire in the process.

Step 1 - Enlist the Help of One Other Person

You'll spend all day trying to stretch chicken wire yourself and it's frustrating. You're better off asking someone for help. One person can hold the roll of wire while the other stretches it. You'll save time, energy and you won’t injure your back if you enlist the help of at least one other person.

Step 2 - Set Posts

Whether you work by yourself or with someone else, the smartest thing you can do is to set your posts first. Doing so will allow you to tack the wire up to the post and then you can stretch, tug, and pull the wire until you reach around the corner of the next post. You’ll only end up with more slack and a “loose” fence if you try to cut your pieces before you set your posts.

Step 3 - Walk on It

You can roll out the wire you need to reach from one post to the next on the ground, and then walk around on it. If you’ve got kids, then let them do it. It’s fun, and it does a great job of taking out the kinks and stretching out the chicken wire.

Step 4 - Unroll, Stop, and Stretch

It’s tempting to just keep unrolling the chicken wire to get the job over and done with. If you rush to unroll the fence without stopping and stretching along the way, you’re bound to end up with too much slack. The best approach is to unroll it and stop every 15 to 20 feet to stretch the wire and work out any kinks. It takes longer, but you’ll install a better fence.

Buy Rolls that You Can Manage

The cheapest way to buy chicken wire is to buy large rolls. If you have help, you won’t have much problems because one person can hold on to the roll as the other one unrolls the wire. When you don’t have help the task can be too difficult because the roll is too heavy. If that’s the case, you should buy shorter rolls that are lighter to carry. Even if you have help, you’ll be able to stretch the wire out more effectively when it’s not too heavy for you to lift and manage.

Be careful about using tools and heavy equipment to stretch chicken wire. You can end up ruining it.