You may be asking if you really need poultry wire for your chicken runs?
Even though you are planning on having 'free range' chickens ... Unfortunately, you might still need to keep the chickens out of your garden. The reality is this...
Chickens like a variety of foods.
And your garden offers one of the largest varieties in their world. So you may want to protect your garden from your flock (or at least your neighbours garden?).
I suggest a minimum mesh and wire height of 6 feet for fencing chickens in, or for keeping them out. WHY 'at least' 6 feet?
Because chickens CAN fly!
So, this height should detain most chickens from crossing over the tracks, as they say. To be honest, 6 feet is really nothing for some chickens, so you might need to think about taller fencing, OR a covered run area, OR clipping (one of) their wings.
It tends to be the smaller breeds that can fly the highest, but even some of the larger ones may surprise you.
In fact, I don’t know if you heard the story of how I lost 4 of my hens in one day? Of course you may be like me and not realize it until it's too late. Then BAM! They were gone. I don’t want that to happen to you. If you want to be certain of keeping your flock safe from certain predators, you’ll HAVE TO plan for this feature in your chicken run. Even with a free range flock you may still want a secure area for times when they can't be let out or don't want to go out (eg. bad weather). Both free range and penned flocks can be further protected with things like sonar deterrents and electric fencing.