Does Chicken Wire Keep Squirrels Out?

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Squirrels, although seemingly harmless and cute, can be a real nuisance to homeowners and garden enthusiasts. If you are on the lookout for a solution that effectively deters these pesky creatures from wreaking havoc in your yard and garden, the chicken wire could potentially hold the answer.

Discover how this simple yet versatile material can help protect your precious plants and bird feeders from squirrel invasions by learning about its various features such as gauge, mesh size, width, and materials used in it like PVC-coated steel or galvanized steel appropriate for pest control purposes.

Key Takeaways

Chicken wire does keep squirrels out.
Chicken wire should be a maximum of 1″ squares to keep out squirrels.
The wire should be at least 19 gage thick.
Squirrels can easily climb chicken wire so if you’re looking to keep them out of a garden bed, be sure to cover the top in chicken wire as well.

The Trouble With Squirrels

Squirrels, despite their cute and innocent appearance, can cause significant damage to your home and garden. As highly adaptable rodents with strong teeth and nimble limbs, squirrels can chew through different materials, including wood, insulation, and electrical wiring.

In the garden realm, squirrels are notorious for digging up freshly planted bulbs and consuming tender seedlings or fruits. They can quickly devastate an entire vegetable patch or disrupt carefully planned landscaping efforts.

They force their way into sheds and set up nests. They make their home in a warm corner of the shed during winter, only to be discovered in spring after they’ve chewed through base boards, flooring, or exterior sheathing.

Moreover, as unwelcome visitors to bird feeders, they consume valuable resources intended for desirable avian species while also scaring away birds due to their presence.

Protecting your property from squirrel infestations both indoors and outdoors is essential; one common solution is using chicken wire as a deterrent material around vulnerable areas such as garden beds or bird feeding stations where squirrels might otherwise find refuge.

Using Chicken Wire To Keep Squirrels Out

Chicken wire is an effective and affordable way to keep squirrels out of your garden or away from your bird feeders. With the right gauge, materials, and mesh size, you can deter these small rodents from causing damage to your property.

Grey Squirrel on Wire Fence


Selecting the right gauge of chicken wire is crucial in deterring squirrels from invading your property. A common issue with lower gauges, such as 24 or lighter, is that they may not be strong enough to withstand persistent gnawing by small rodents like squirrels.

To effectively prevent these unwanted intruders from gaining access to your home or garden, opt for a 19 or 22 gauge wire instead.

For example, imagine you’re trying to protect your fruit trees from hungry squirrels looking for an easy meal. By installing a barrier made of 19-gauge chicken wire around the base of each tree trunk, you’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor without worrying about potential losses caused by pesky critters.


Selecting the right materials for your chicken wire is crucial in effectively deterring squirrels from invading your garden or yard. Traditional chicken wire is made of galvanized steel, which offers a certain level of durability and weather resistance.

However, squirrels have been known to chew on various materials, including wires.

Another material option worth considering is plastic wire mesh with a maximum hole size of 1 inch – this prevents squirrels from being able to climb through or get stuck inside the mesh while still offering enough ventilation and visibility for plants and other animals behind the barrier.

For instance, using PVC-coated steel or plastic mesh around bird feeders can help keep pesky small rodents out while allowing birds safe access to their food source without feeling trapped by the fencing.

Mesh Size

The size of the mesh in your chicken wire is crucial when attempting to deter squirrels from invading your garden. A mesh size no bigger than 1 inch should be used to ensure that these small rodents cannot climb or get through the wire.

It’s also essential to note that even with a small mesh size, squirrels may still attempt to chew their way through the wire. Galvanized steel or PVC-coated steel wires are good options as they are more durable and resistant to chewing.


When it comes to using chicken wire to keep squirrels out, width is a crucial factor to consider. Chicken wire comes in different widths ranging from 18 inches up to 72 inches, depending on the intended use.

For squirrel exclusion purposes, a wider mesh may be more effective as it can cover larger areas without leaving any gaps that small animals could slip through. However, keep in mind that material gauge and mesh size are equally important factors for success.

For example, if you’re looking to create a barrier around your garden beds or bird feeders, a wider roll of chicken wire may be necessary. You can even shape the wire into custom cages designed specifically for these areas.

It’s important to staple each piece securely so there are no gaps where squirrels can enter or exit.

Additional Tips for Squirrel-Proofing Your Home and Yard

Consider using squirrel-proof bird feeders with mechanisms to close off the feeding ports when weight is applied, or try placing a baffle on top of the feeder pole to prevent squirrels from climbing up.

Beyond Chicken Wire: Other Strategies To Prevent Squirrel Damage

While chicken wire can be an effective way to keep squirrels out of your garden and away from your bird feeders, there are other strategies you can use as well.

One option is to pair chicken wire with other squirrel deterrents such as black pepper, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.

Another option is installing a PVC-coated steel mesh fence around your yard or garden. This type of fencing has smaller holes than traditional chicken wire and is more durable, making it more difficult for squirrels to chew through or climb over.

Ultimately, finding the right solution will depend on the specific issues you’re facing with squirrel damage.


Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about chicken wire’s effectiveness with squirrels.

What material will squirrels not chew through?

Squirrels are notorious chewers and can quickly gnaw through many types of materials, including wood, plastic, and aluminum. However, galvanized steel wire is the only material that squirrels cannot easily chew through due to its durability.

Polyethylene mesh netting is another option for bird and squirrel control that they cannot penetrate with their sharp teeth. It may not be as sturdy as galvanized steel wire but is still effective at deterring small animals like squirrels.

What size mesh is squirrel-proof?

When it comes to choosing the right mesh size for squirrel-proof chicken wire, smaller is better. Mesh sizes of 1 inch (25mm) or less are considered squirrel-proof, as squirrels have difficulty squeezing their small bodies through such tight spaces. 

It’s important to note that the gauge of the wire also plays a significant role in deterring these pesky rodents. Generally speaking, a wire gauge of at least 19 is recommended for maximum durability and strength against chewing and digging.

PVC-coated steel is an excellent choice for longevity and effectiveness against corrosion over galvanized steel options like zinc coatings.

What is the best fencing to keep squirrels out of the garden?

When keeping squirrels out of your garden, you should consider using fencing made of metal screen or wire hardware cloth is often the best bet. These materials have smaller meshes that prevent even the smallest rodents from squeezing through and damaging your plants.

Galvanized steel or PVC-coated steel are durable options that can withstand outdoor elements. Another option is to use chicken wire or plastic mesh with small enough holes to deter squirrels, but it should be sturdy enough to withstand chewing and climbing attempts by these pesky critters.

Can squirrels climb chicken wire?

Squirrels are notorious for their ability to climb almost anything, and chicken wire is no exception. Despite being a popular solution for keeping squirrels out of gardens, it’s important to note that squirrels can still climb chicken wire with ease.

However, using the proper gauge of wire mesh with a maximum hole size of 1 inch can help prevent squirrels from getting through. Installing the chicken wire at least 12 inches deep around crops can also be effective in deterring small rodents like chipmunks.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, chicken wire can be a wonderful solution for keeping squirrels out of gardens and away from bird feeders. With the correct gauge, materials, and mesh size, it can effectively deter these small rodents.

However, it is critical to remember that squirrels are tenacious creatures with strong teeth and can chew through chicken wire if the mesh size is too large. Therefore, when you use chicken wire, it may be necessary to employ other strategies, such as using black pepper or plant cages.

Photo of author
Sean is the founder of Conquer Critters. With more than 17 years of experience in dealing with various pests, he is passionate about spreading his knowledge to help everyone manage their pest problem in the fastest, most effective manor possible.

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