What is called hardware cloth, 1/4 by 1/4 works much better. Any fencing of heavier gage works better. Chain link is very good fo chickens also.
On your other question, I am an omnivore and my dogs and cats are carnivore and eat only meat I prepare at home. But no, I do not have the temperment to eat my own birds. In fact, I rescue poultry from bad or unwanted situations.
I don't like the fact that one living creature eats another, but I can't dictate nature and evolution. If I was a god who loved all of my creatures, I would make it that we all could survive on some food that has no emotions, feelings, or personality.
But getting back to reality, although people can live a healthy lifestyle being vegan, I would still have to feed animals to my pets. In fact, chickens are omnivores and love to eat other animals. They will eat carrion, insects, reptiles and amphipians, and mice.
Dominic, your thought process is similar to my own, although I am vegetarian. I don't impose that on other people or animals.
Hens are interesting to watch. For a while I had 6 - there were 2 white leghorns, 2 rhode island reds, and 2 black australorps. They stuck together, 2 by 2 based on breed. My partner accused them of being racist chickens.
One of the rhode island reds was a serial killer. I thought it was rodents or racoons or opossums killing chickens. Then one day I saw her literally standing on another hen, who was still alive, pecking at her and pulling her feathers out. She drew blood. The other chickens stood around watching. It was a lot like my prior workplace.
The killer hen finally had to go. I gave her to a coworker who eats chickens. The replacement was much less aggressive and lays more eggs.
Some animals, just like the human animal, are just nuts. Sometimes it is something in the environment and sometimes it is genetic, and sometimes it is just hard for us to understand. Chickens can be canibalistic, but it is usually under conditions of either over crowding and/or a lack of anything to do, such as digging in the soil, perching, looking for bugs, and being able to sunbathe.
I think that one was genetic. My previous Rhode island reds were aggressive, just not that aggressive. The Leghorns in what is now the same housing and free roaming, digging, weed eating, bug hunting, perching situation, walk around cooing like happy pigeons. I think RIRs are the pitbulls of hens. (I know, there are loving pitbulls too).
We now have two Sex-Linked hens. They are pretty assertive too. I hope they don't bully the Leghorns.
But where's a picture of the new baby? These all look like adults.
The first yellow and brown bird with the whisps of feathers sticking out of his head is right out of the nest. It is akward, funny looking, and smaller than the rest.
How wonderful. I'm so happy for you Dominic. You have such lovely birds.
Wow - beautiful pictures. I am blown away. Love it.
Can't believe I missed this. Sorry catching up on the site.
Super cute birds!