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I'm installing some 4x4 Pressure Treated 8' Tall Fence Posts for a chicken run. I want to have at least 7' tall fence, and am wondering if the 1' sunken depth is adequate. I have read conflicting information as to what I should do and the methods to use. I am also not building a wooden fence, just a light poultry wire mesh.

My plan was: I so far have dug 7" Diameter x 18" Deep. Wanted to put 3" of Concrete, 3" of Gravel, to be left with 1 foot of sunken post depth in the soil. Then Soil+Gravel Mix all the way to the top, tamping as I go to compact.

I plan to be using 1" poultry chicken wire mesh for the perimeter, with a gate on one end between 2 posts.

My 3 questions are:

  1. Is 12" Sunken Depth good enough for a 7' tall fence? How deep do I need to go for such a light application of netting/wire mesh?
  2. Do you think the 3" of gravel atop the 3" of concrete will be sufficient to prevent moisture wicking into/against the post to increase its' life?
  3. Do you think that 6' will be sufficient to keep predators and deer away from the poultry if I have to dig the post deeper?

I definitely don't want to install these more than once, and if I have to dig deeper I will.

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    Where do you live and what kind of soil conditions do you have? – whatsisname Sep 2 '15 at 20:20
  • Deer reportedly can leap a 6' fence. The report may be wrong. – keshlam Sep 2 '15 at 20:35
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    If you don't get below the frost line, the posts could heave if/when the ground freezes. So the depth is going to depend on your location. – Tester101 Sep 2 '15 at 20:54
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    @keshlam Deer can certainly jump a 6 foot fence. IMPE, for a chicken run, wire over the top is essential, as chickens keep failing to read books that say they don't fly, and some predators are chickenhawks (the kind with wings, as opposed to the human type.) Others happily clamber over fences as a pre-dinner jaunt. – Ecnerwal Sep 3 '15 at 0:52
  • I don't know that/if StackExchange has a more suitable site, but I do know that there are MANY good poultry/chicken sites on the inter-web-tubes, and some research among them regarding housing and fencing might help you avoid some of the "learning by finding dead or missing chickens" that may otherwise occur. Fencing alone will rarely serve - they generally also need to be shut into a secure coop at night for protection. – Ecnerwal Sep 3 '15 at 1:11
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If you already bought (and can't return) 8 foot wooden posts and you want a 7 foot high fence (or "at least 7 feet") I would suggest not burying them at all, as that's doomed to failure. Put metal post bases (or metal posts) in the ground and bolt your wooden posts to them. Otherwise buy 10 or 12 foot wooden posts if you want 7-8 feet above ground and you want them to stay put. Or, bury them 3-4 feet deep and bolt 2x2 or 2x4 lumber to them aboveground to get to 7 feet (or more) above ground level.

If you didn't already buy them I suggest you learn about metal posts, they are usually much less expensive and easier to set, as well as somewhat safer around livestock than PT wood. But you still need enough post in the ground to hold the post in the air stable, and unless you are drilling holes in solid rock to place your posts in, a 1-7 ratio is dubious in the extreme - and so is placing concrete footings above frost line. In reasonably solid ground an 8 foot post can be driven in 2 feet and leave 6 feet above ground, but your corner posts will definitely need some bracing to stay put, and/or will need to be longer.

Wire (mesh or not) is actually more demanding on the posts than a wooden fence - the wire pulls and provides no support - wooden fence sections provide some bracing to the posts.

  • Frost line here is 3 feet, I believe. Check with local resources. – keshlam Sep 3 '15 at 0:56
  • I'd avoid the metal posts unless using them for additional support on the regular posts. They are a pain to work with when working with chicken wire when trying to cover the pen. – Micah Montoya Mar 22 '18 at 13:36

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