How to secure panels of chickenwire to a fruit cage?

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DanielCoffey

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Today I discovered that the local Grey Squirrels had shredded the plastic netting that came with my Harrod Strawberry Cage and were inside gorging themselves on the new fruit. There are three local Squirrels and I do not have the necessary airgun license that would be the old fashioned solution.

I intend to upgrade the cage to use galvanised wire but still want it to be tidy and, for preference, able to be disassembled for flat storage at the end of the soft fruit season as well as easy to access the fruit mid-season.

My current thought is to get some more of the 16mm metal tubing with the PVC corners that Harrod supplied and make five separate rectangular panels. They could then have permanently attached galvanised mesh to each one. If I was to cut the mesh to be slightly larger than each panel, fold over the edges by about an inch then use some thin galvanised wire to hold it in place, do you think this would work? Would wire twists every few inches be suitable or maybe one continuous piece all the way along a side spiraling along the aluminium rod to hold the wire into place?

I still need to be able to lift the cage off frequently to access the fruit for picking so thought of using wire twists to assemble the five panels into the complete cage that I could lift off when needed and then untwist and separate at the end of the season for flat storage.

Thoughts?

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Kleftiwallah

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Re: How to secure panels of chickenwire to a fruit cage?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2023, 14:47 »
Staples - bits of wire bent double with a sharp point at either end.

Cheers,  Tony :)
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DanielCoffey

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Re: How to secure panels of chickenwire to a fruit cage?
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2023, 14:49 »
Sadly they won't work on the Harrod fruit cages - those are Aluminium tubing construction.

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Kleftiwallah

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Re: How to secure panels of chickenwire to a fruit cage?
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2023, 16:17 »
Now you didn't tell us it wasn't wood (although there was the word aluminium in the text).  How about strong plastic covered wire twisted between the mesh and ally tubing?  Cheers,  Tony.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2023, 10:02 by Kleftiwallah »

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JayG

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Re: How to secure panels of chickenwire to a fruit cage?
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2023, 09:30 »
If the frame is too large for the trusty sprung plastic clothes pegs to work, perhaps you could use crocodile clips (sometimes called alligator clips, or even crocodile-alligator clips  ::)) to make at least one panel easy to remove for picking (would save having to move the complete cage each time.)
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DanielCoffey

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Re: How to secure panels of chickenwire to a fruit cage?
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2023, 10:55 »
I am looking at clips, yes. Apparently there are plastic clips specifically made for this purpose but they are not intended to be easily removable. Office bulldog clips will rust fairly quickly I expect.

I suspect for the Strawberry bed which is 1m x 2m I can just lift it up and aside to gain access as needed but the big currant bushes right next to them are probably going to be more of a problem. I just know that once access to the Strawberries is denied they will go for the less ripe currants so I will be armouring up all three cages at the same time.

One option is apparently a 25mm welded wire mesh that does away with the need for a frame and corner pieces entirely because they make little clips that are crimped to join sections but I don't know if they can disassemble at the end of the season.

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DanielCoffey

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Re: How to secure panels of chickenwire to a fruit cage?
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2023, 18:10 »
It is interesting what you can find when shopping...

In the debate of "chickenwire vs welded mesh", it seems that squirrels can actually chew through cheap chickenwire so you have to look at the better wire quality.

If you stretch the chickenwire at all (or overhandle it from one season to the next) then it distorts and sometimes squirrels can squeeze through a flexible oval even if it is technically too small for them. Welded wire mesh is more expensive than chickenwire but it gets round that problem completely. In this choice I hav egone for a roll of 25mm welded wire mesh.

As for how to affix either chickenwire or welded mesh to a round aluminium rod, I was missing the obvious... zipties! Some of the gamebird breeding suppliers were selling chickenwire for large enclosures and welded mesh for small ones alongside bulk bags of zipties.

So what I have ended up doing on this shopping trip is going to Harrod Horticultural for more of the plastic corner pieces (their trademarked ones seem to be more robust than the cheapo "stick it into the end of the pipe and hope it holds" alternatives). I have bought more 16mm Aluminium rod to make a soil-level addition to the cage frame and then bought a roll of welded wire mesh at 25mm spacing as well as loads of zipties.

The strawberry frame needs to be easily accessed every few days for the length of the season so I will be cutting off the legs with a small pipe cutter and adding a lower rectangle of new tubing. Five sides will be covered in the mesh and it will simply be placed flat onto the strawberry bed. I can lift it out of the way as needed for picking since it is only 40cm high but it will be too heavy for the squirrels. They can't dig under it because I actually bought the premium raised beds from Harrods and they have the decorative timber tops that come right up to the sides of the cage.

The taller currant cages will still need to be stuck into the ground for stability (unless I want to use pegs or guys to hold them) so I will be placing the new ring of ground level tubes at the correct spacing for a full width of the welded mesh and zip tying it all together once. Since the currants are a single crop that gets picked over in two or three sessions after which the cage is not needed, the zip ties will be single-use. They can be snipped off, picked over and replaced once or twice then taken off completely for the year after the picking is done.

Once it all arrives I will try to add a photo. If I can include a picture of a frustrated squirrel giving me the middle digit I will!

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Growster...

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Re: How to secure panels of chickenwire to a fruit cage?
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2023, 18:18 »
Probably too late for you, but these people were very helpful when I wanted to order some extra fittings! I did the whole order on line!

https://www.knowlenets.co.uk/collections/fruit-cage-connectors

They sell small plastic clips for ali tubing which can be removed quite easily!

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DanielCoffey

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Re: How to secure panels of chickenwire to a fruit cage?
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2023, 18:21 »
Cheers. I have finished shopping this time but it is always useful in case a mad idea doesn't work out.


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