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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? Sep 2, 2015 at 20:20
  • Deer reportedly can leap a 6' fence. The report may be wrong.
    – keshlam
    Sep 2, 2015 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, 2015 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, 2015 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, 2015 at 1:11

2 Answers 2

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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.

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  • Frost line here is 3 feet, I believe. Check with local resources.
    – keshlam
    Sep 3, 2015 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. Mar 22, 2018 at 13:36
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Not sure exactly what part of the question you're most concerned about. Your chickens, or the fence. coon's and other like animals, that love chickens more than humans do will get in if they desire. On the flip side, you don't say where you live, but 4" of crete at the bottom of the post, why bother? The first answer you got about metal post, you should consider. If your concerned about appearance you can bolt a 4x4 to a metal post. Me. I would still run chicken wire on the bottom 1/3 of the post. I'm on this site because I'm asking the same question. I just moved from NH to NC. First week we were here, the 4x4 pt post at the gate snaped off. I'm not one bit surprise. Some will debate this, but PT is not totally rot resistant. It is not supposed to be totally in touch with concrete. According to numerous inspectors in NH. in contact with yes. When I have had to choice and a homeowner has insisted I have sleeved the bottom with aluminum coil stock to a few inches above ground level. My only purpose was to try and stop as much water that ends up inside the concrete pour, that touches the post. Yes I have a metal brake and can make the sleeves fairly tight. Silicone the seams and the top as well. Maybe an over kill, but I haven't had anyone call me pissed because a fence post or a DECK post has failed. It was also mentioned above that there is concrete footings that your post can slide into. I have used these, and they have enough play for water to drain through. I still use a good quality concrete caulking to seal the post and crete sleeve. The product is amazing. I have made 150 lb. concrete benches placed on wood frames and they are still stuck there after 10 years.

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