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Chicken wire, or poultry netting, is a mesh of wire commonly used to fence in fowl, such as chickens, in a run or coop. It is made of thin, flexible, galvanized steel wire with hexagonal gaps. Available in 1 inch (about 2.5 cm) diameter, 2 inch (about 5 cm) and 1/2 inch (about 1.3 cm), chicken wire is available in various gauges--usually 19 gauge (about 1 mm wire) to 22 gauge (about 0.7 mm wire). Chicken wire is occasionally used to build inexpensive pens for small animals (or to protect plants and property from animals) though the thinness and zinc content of galvanized wire may be inappropriate for animals prone to gnawing and will not keep out predators.
In construction, chicken wire or hardware cloth is used as a metal lath to hold cement or plaster, a process known as stuccoing. Concrete reinforced with chicken wire or hardware cloth yields ferrocement, a versatile construction material. It can also be used to make the armature for a papier-mâché sculpture, when relatively high strength is needed.
Charles Barnard, a British ironmonger, built the world's first wire-netting machine in 1844. He based his design on cloth weaving machines. Soon the firm of Barnard, Bishop & Barnard, established in Norwich, was selling wire netting all over the world. 
During World War II, the fine wire used to make chicken wire was used to make large wire ground mats for radar systems, evening out the random reflections from the uneven ground below. The installation of these systems caused a countrywide shortage of chicken wire in the United Kingdom.
In photonics, the chicken-wire effect is a predominant pattern of low transmission lines between multifiber bundles in a fiberoptic used to couple the intensifier tube to the CCD sensor. The lines have a pattern similar to that of chicken wire.
In machine tool design, chicken wire may be used for safety guarding.
Chicken wire has also been used as a means of body disposal, most famously by the Colombian Cali Cartel. As the TV show "Narcos" relates : "When Pablo Escobar killed you, he wanted everyone to know about it. But the "Gentlemen of Cali", they did that differently too : they wrapped your body with chicken wire and dumped you in the Cauca river. When you bloated and your body expanded, the wire cut you into little pieces, for fish food. Not very "gentlemanly", but it did the trick..."
- Ward, Ken. Victorian Norwich. A History of Norwich, 28 November 2006, p. 6.
- Dobinson, Colin (2001). AA Command: Britain's Anti-aircraft Defences of World War II. Methuen. p. 277. ISBN 9780413765406.
- Geoffrey A. Fowler (31 Dec 2009). "Culprit in Wi-Fi Failures: Chicken Wire". The Wall Street Journal. p. A6A.
- Reifenberger, Guido; Blümcke, Ingmar; Pietsch, Torsten; Paulus, Werner (2010). "Pathology and classification of tumors of the nervous system". In Tonn, Jörg-Christian; Westphal, Manfred; Rutka, James T. Oncology of CNS Tumors. Springer. p. 17. ISBN 978-3-642-02873-1.