Cattle guards – farm and ranch livestock control

Cattle Guards for farm and ranch livestock control

Cattle guards have been the staple of livestock control on the farm and ranch for decades.  Gates were the workhorse of the farm, but the inconvenience to the user created the desire for something better; something that was automatic and didn’t require extra effort was needed for frequent access to grazing and high traffic areas.  At the other end of the use spectrum, it was important that it be effective in remote areas as well.  Typically these areas see infrequent traffic and use by people that may not related to the ranching operations and therefor not as responsible at latching gates behind them every time they accessed the area.  Realizing that flat-hoofed livestock animals (read cattle) needed flat surfaces for secure footing, the round-pipe cattle guard was born.

The problems with farm gates

The traditional metal swing-gate did a fine job of keeping livestock contained in pastures, but required some discipline from those using them.  The inconvenience of stopping equipment, climbing down to open a gate while fending off any curious livestock was more than just a pain in the neck to users. They would also need to drive through the gate while keeping animals at bay, only to stop again to ward them off and close the gate behind them, making sure it was securely latched.  When making several trips a day through a pasture, or relying on those that needed to cross, but can’t seem to remember how to secure the gate behind them, the installation and use of a cattle guard can be a huge time saver!  It also eliminates the possibility of an open gate to provide a more secure pasture for the herd. No more searching and rounding up escaped animals because someone left a gate open!

Gates require that everyone who uses them be responsible enough to make sure they are secured after being closed.  A lot of pastures are in remote areas and need to accessed by non-ranchers. Land access may be granted to companies that operate cell phone towers, oil wells or other facilities that require less than frequent maintenance by non-farm related personnel. The sporadic traffic by those not familiar with livestock, or maybe just more concerned with convenience than keeping animals contained, don’t always do the best job of keeping gates closed. Leaving them open after they enter a pasture because ‘there’s no cattle around’, only leads to animals sneaking out. With a cattle guard, there’s no more searching and rounding up escaped animals because someone left a gate open!

Cattle guards rely on two powerful deterrents:

The optical deterrent
To effectively keep cattle in the pasture or grazing area where they belong without the use of a gate, a strong deterrent needs to be present and the cattle guard relies on two. The first line of defense is the creation of a visible barrier. The round top-rails create shadows and a perception of depth that cows pick up on as treacherous. In fact, there are studies that show when presented with highly contrasting lines painted horizontally across a roadway, some cattle will be spooked enough not to cross. The optical barrier created by the shadows of the rounded rails, when coupled with the actual physical depth of the vaulted area beneath it, creates a strong disincentive for further exploration and will usually turn a cow before they even consider stepping on it.

The physical deterrent
When coupled with the visual perception of danger, the physical barrier of a Texas Gate usually creates an overwhelming urge to retreat. The most common guards are made with round top-pipe so that when a large, flat-hoofed animals steps on it, it creates such an unstable balancing condition for the animal, they instinctively realize it is unsafe footing and realize it is an insurmountable obstruction. They will turn away before putting any real weight on their first ‘test hoof’ and be strongly persuaded to never go near it again.

The dangers and shortcomings of cattle guards

Horses:  With the convenience of using these round pipe crossings as effective barriers, there are also dangers present for other animals. The gaps between the top-pipes are excellent at creating unstable footing and an optical impediment to crossing livestock, but they also create a hazard for other animals. The most at risk are horses and I strongly recommend that they not be used with equine. A horse has smaller hooves and legs than bovine and their slender legs can slide down between the rails to the bottom of the vaulted area. This puts the most fragile part of the leg at risk of breaking and as a flight animal, when a horse begins to struggle to try and free itself, it can easily break it’s own leg out of fear. There’s nothing worse than seeing a horse stuck in a cattle guard and we do not recommend their use with equine animals – best to use a gate.
Paws and Small Hoofs
cattle guard is not effective with non-hoofed animals such as dogs and cats or with smaller sure-footed hoofed creatures like goats and sheep. The soft pad of a paw allows the animals to walk across the rounded surface of the pipe and the smaller hoofed animals can achieve balance on top of the piping for an easy traverse.

One exception we have seen is with deer.  Even though they have smaller hooves, they do not like the unstable footing and will usually look for other paths or routes to roam.  Due to their incredible jumping abilities, we recommend a 12′ or deeper guard to provide a sufficient deterrent. They are able to easily jump a 6′ or 8′ distance, but usually won’t attempt a 12′ or longer leap.

Texas Gate Summery

Whether a large farm and ranch operation with frequent traffic or a remote area with sporadic traffic, a cattle guard can be an excellent option to keeping your livestock where you want them, grazing and growing.  Keep in mind they don’t work for all animals, but are a terrific option for cattle and convenience.  Visit Barn World for their large selection and ask their knowledgeable staff if a guard is right for your operation..

Cattle Guards and Horses – a warning from Barn World

Cattle Guards and Horses

Lately we’ve been receiving a lot of calls for cattle guard quotes from horse owners looking to contain their equine. I wanted to give a quick review of why they’re not recommended for use with horses and why a traditional livestock gate is your safest alternative.

Cattle Guards vs. Gates

livestock gate  

 

Dangers of cattle guards

Although cattle guards are very popular and provide the ultimate ease of access to all your pastures, they can also be very dangerous when used with horses. Horses typically have a more slender hoof and leg than cattle and this physical difference can allow a horse’s hoof to slip between the cattle guard rails and slide all the way down to the bottom of the vaulted area. It’s slender hoof can also easily slip off the rail and damage its ‘ankle’.

This exposes one of the weakest parts of their leg directly to the cattle guard rail itself and once in this position, the scared animal’s flight instincts kick in and it will struggle to free itself. During the attempt to flee its precarious position, it can easily break its leg and put its own life in jeopardy. It is an extremely difficult thing to see and and its extremely difficult to even assist the horse in freeing itself.  A horse with its leg stuck in a cattle guard is not something that you ever want to have happen to your equine.

The safest and only viable alternative to a cattle guard for horses is a standard gate. It may be less convenient than driving over a cattle guard, but it is certainly safer than exposing your horse to a possible broken leg.

As a quick side note: There are other hoofed animals they can easily cross the barrier. Goats, sheep and other sure-footed livestock that are very nimble can quickly learn how to get across the curved rails. Of course animals with pads, such as cats and dogs can also learn to tip-toe across the rails and escape to freedom!

Help with cattle guards

If you’re considering using a cattle guard where horses are present, we would suggest that you use a traditional farm gate or livestock gate and realize the inconvenience of operating the gate is well worth offsetting the risk of injury to your horse.

Livestock Gate review:

 

If you have any questions or if we at Barn World Livestock Supplies can help with your cattle guard decisions, please let us know and we’ll be more than happy to help.

 

Cattle Guards from Barn World Livestock Supplies

Cattle Guards – an effective invisible livestock gate!

A properly installed cattle guard is an effective and popular livestock control devise that saves valuable time and effort.  Available with the highly effective round top-pipe for the maximum hoofed animal deterrent and the flat top-pipe which provides a smoother ride for your vehicles while creating a barrier for livestock, it is easy to establish a safe perimeter to your pastures while granting the best ease of access possible.  It won’t matter who’s crossing your land, they will never leave a gate open and cattle won’t be wandering off on their own.  Keep your livestock safely contained with a simple and very effective cattle guard.

Types of cattle guards

There are many different types available, but the most common and effective are the flat and boxed options.

Flat cattle guards

are the traditional style in use all over the country.  Typically they’re made by welding round pipe to the top of heavy duty c-channels or I-beams.  The design calls for them to be mounted over a vaulted or open area with concrete footings to hold back the dirt and provide a foundation to transfer the weight of crossing vehicles to the ground.  The vault area underneath the rails creates a void and the important visual perception of depth needed to deter an animal attempting to cross.  Proper installation of the foundation is critical and a contractor familiar with the local soil conditions, including soil freezing levels and drainage issues should be consulted to ensure a long lasting crossing.

Boxed cattle guards

are identical to flat cattle guards but are designed to lay directly on the ground. They have a steel skirt welded around the perimeter to keep dirt from creeping in underneath and are very popular in low traffic, low-speed areas. These include construction sites where cleaning dirt from equipment is necessary before entering public roadways.  They are very popular as washout sites, used when hosing off trailers and other vehicles and allow for the water and dirt to drain away, and also as rumble strips that shake the dirt off before leaving a site.  These ‘semi-portable’ guards can be relocated from site to site as needed.

Boxed cattle guards are also popular for residential use and other low traffic areas such as cellular antenna towers, oil rigs, and any unattended maintenance area that require roaming livestock be kept at bay.

Boxed-Cattle-Guard

Cattle guard load ratings

The AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) provide axle load ratings for cattle guards to be used in public installations.  Rated cattle guards are certified to meet the requirements of state and federal entities such as the Department of Transportation.

AASHTO Design Specifications
H-15 (12 tons per axle)
H-20 (16 tons per axle)
U-54 (25 tons per axle)
U-80 (30 tons per axle)

Private use cattle guards When used on private property, certified load rating certificates are not required. This fact alone can save hundreds of dollars on a single cattle guard even though they’re built to the same specifications.  Private use guards will handle fully-loaded semi truck trailers as well as farm and ranch equipment.  Very popular on private driveways, these cattle guards can be more economical.

If you need any help with your cattle guard project, would like a quote with shipping or have any questions at all about cattle guards, please contact BarnWorld.com.  They have all the livestock supplies you need for your farm and ranch!

Cattle guards: A livestock management time saver from Barn World Livestock Supplies

Cattle guards

A simple Texas Gate provides security and peace of mind for your farm and ranch and is one of the most valued assets of livestock equipment available to the modern rancher today. Gone are the days were you would have to stop and get out of your vehicle only to drive forward, stop again, get out and close the gate behind you.  With a cattle guard, you won’t worry that someone may have left a gate open releasing your animals to the great unknown!  A simple cattle guard, when properly installed, will provide years of worry free livestock control.

Types of cattle guards

Round pipe cattle guards

Traditional cattle guards are made from c-channels or I-beam load supports with either round or flat top piping.  Round top-pipe provides a greater deterrent for livestock by creating not only a rounded surface that’s more challenging to balance on, but also a greater visual deterrent. The curved edges create greater shadow contrast making it look even more imposing to animals.  The combination provides an effective deterrent for livestock and other flat hoofed creature.

Flat pipe cattle guards

provide a physical barrier while also creating a smoother ride for passing traffic than the round pipe. They’re most popular on heavily traveled roadways and provide a smoother crossing for high-speed vehicles.  Although better for crossing trucks and cars, the flat surface will allow for a more stable foothold for animals and thus have a slightly less physical deterrent than round piped guards.

Temporary or boxed cattle guards

Boxed guards are quite common in the construction industry. They are traditional round top-pipe cattle guards with a steel skirt welded around the outside to prevent dirt from creeping into the open vault area underneath. They’re designed to lay directly on a flat surface and can be used as a construction site washout or a dirt rumbler to clean debris from equipment before leaving a job site.  They are also convenient in that they can be transferred from one site to the next as work requires.

Cattle Guards for ATVs

Barn World Livestock Supplies offers a custom guard built for ATVs and designed to be inserted directly into a fence line. It’s a simple and effective means of quickly adding access to other pastures without creating the need for a permanent guard that requires concrete footings or vaults to be dug. Just cut your fence and drop it into place for foot or atv access.

 

Warning:  Cattle guards do not work with all animals

Balancing a flat hoof on a round pipe is a difficult proposition for most animals. There are some exceptions: goats, sheep and other surefooted livestock can cross cattle guards fairly easily and your soft-footed barnyard friends such as dogs & cats will be able to walk right across.

Please note that cattle guards are not recommended for use with horses. Their smaller and slender legs can slide down between the rails and be expose to breakage at their weakest point.  Being a flight animal means that they will struggle more fiercely out if panic to get out and unintentionally increase the risk of injury.   The best barrier for these animals is a swing gate.

Simple and effective, cattle guards provide a swift and maintenance free method of ensuring your livestock stay on your ranch. You will never need to open and close gate again and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that a gate somewhere has been left open.

If you have any questions about installation or need and long-lasting heavy-duty cattle guard for your farm and ranch, contact Barn World (720.238.2190) as they have a large selection and a knowledgeable staff to help.

Cattle Guard Foundations – Setting the proper Texas Gate

Cattle Guard Installation

Cattle guards are an indispensable part of managing livestock.  Their simplicity and ease of use, combined with their longevity, make them the ultimate Texas gate.

Cattle Guard Foundation Installation

Although some have mounted cattle guards to railroad ties for support, the most permanent and recommended installation method begins with a concrete vault.  The vault serves two purposes:

  1. keep the dirt from behind the walls of the vault area from creeping in
  2. allow the footings to provide proper support

A concrete cattle guard foundation will ultimately be a thick, four-walled ‘box’ and is recommended to be poured after the arrival of the cattle guard.  The depth of the walls is not a one-size-fits all measurement, but is determined by the local conditions such as drainage, soil type and freezing levels.  It is important that a contractor who is familiar with the site conditions be consulted so that the foundation will provide a solid and stable base for the cattle guard to rest on.  The support beams do not rest on the vault walls, only on the footers to transfer the weight of the passing vehicles to the ground.

Generally, it is suggested a trench, about a foot deep and wider than the guard itself be dug.  The cattle guard foundation walls should be at least six inches wide to make up the ‘vault box’ so that dirt will not collapse the walls and the footers should be large enough to support the passing vehicle weight and transfer the load to the ground.  We typically see 12 inch walls that are eighteen inches deep to support each load-bearing beam of the guard.

Depending upon your soil conditions, drainage may be achieved with a deep crushed-rock base such as a French drain or by running PVC piping through the concrete walls to discharge any excess water.  Some areas may allow for natural drainage, but without proper removal of any water, the foundation and thus the guard itself may be compromised.  Effective drainage is vital to the longevity of the crossing and should be done with the best possible long-term solution in mind.

Cattle-Guard-Foundation

Boxed Cattle Guard Installations

A boxed cattle guard is a great choice for temporary use in low traffic areas or construction sites.  Laid directly on flat ground, they can be spiked into the soil, railroad ties or a set in a firm gravel mix to help eliminate movement.  They are great for low volume access areas and don’t require a vault to be dug underneath.  A steel skirt is welded directly to the frame and will help keep the area below clear from creeping dirt.  Very popular with construction sites, the guards may be moved from location to location and be used as rumblers, dirt shakers, or washout areas to clean equipment before leaving a job site.

Best used in situations where the cattle guard will be used temporarily, these versatile installations will do well for all types of applications.

Cattle Guards – a convenient gate replacement

For ease of use, nothing provides better access to your livestock than a properly installed Texas Gate. You don’t need to manually open and close it or worry about someone leaving it open and your animals wandering off.  With proper installation, this convenient and secure access will greatly improve your ability to manage your farm and ranch.

Please visit BarnWorld.com to see our selection and don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or need any help with your installation!

Barn World Livestock Supplies  (720) 238-2190

 

 

 

Cattle Guards, the ultimate livestock gate!

Cattle Guards are the ultimate invisible livestock gate

By Barnworld Livestock – sales@barnworld.com

Cattle guards offer ease of access to your livestock pastures, farm and ranches while keeping your animals safe from wandering.  The simple design allows vehicles to pass through a fence line holding most ranch animals without having to stop and open, then close a gate.  If you have through traffic or other people working on your farm, you never have to worry about an open gate in the middle of the night.

Cattle Guard differences

Top Pipe Options:  Barn World offers each of the cattle guard types below with either round pipe or flat pipe on top.  The top pipe runs perpendicular to the direction of vehicular traffic and rests directly on the c-channel or i-beams underneath.  The weight of the vehicle is transferred from the pipe, to the beams and then to the ground.

The flat piping is ideal for areas of high speed traffic such as public roadways and other crossings with a lot of traffic moving at a faster clip.  The finish allows for a more smooth transition of the barrier with the least amount of ride disruption to the passengers and vehicle.  They can commonly be seen in use by state & federal highway projects.

Round Pipe cattle guards are of the same design as the flat pipe and come in 3-1/2 or 4-1/2 diameters.  The round pipe causes a bit more vibration on passing vehicles,  but is seen as a more effective deterrent to livestock.   The curvature of the pipe creates less of a balancing surface for hoofed animals creating more discomfort on the foot and leg if stepped on.  It is very difficult for hoofed animals (goats excepted) to get a secure footing feeling while balancing all of their weight on such a small, rounded surface.

The curved pipe also creates an optical barrier for livestock.  The curvature of the round pipe creates shadows that offer an optical barrier for the animals.  A study was done comparing the effectiveness of traditional round pipe cattle guards to white lines of roughly the same width painted on a black road surface to create the illusion of depth.  The painted lines were found initially to be surprisingly more effective than first thought. When cattle were introduced to the markings, they we not interested in testing the barrier, but when they had had some time to inspect the painted surface, the eventually were able to overcome their initially hesitation and cross without effort.  Once they were able to determine the road was indeed flat, they did in fact cross easily.  The optical illusion of a barrier did deter them for a time, but when incentivized to cross it, they did.  The researchers found that they still preferred to go around the markings, but didn’t have a problem crossing once the ‘jig was up’.

The traditional round –piped cattle guard, couples the optical deterrent with the physical to provide the most effective obstruction.  Livestock that are motivate to attempt a crossing and are brave enough to place a hoof on the guard quickly discover that the footing is unbearably unstable and will usually withdraw their hoof.   After that initial uncomfortable encounter with the steel round pipe, they will typically avoid it at all costs.

We have had reports of some aggressive or spooked bulls attempt to jump over the obstacle.  This is usually done in times of panic and some of the larger more athletic bulls can jump six feet or more on occasion.  For these more muscular and nimble ‘jumpers’ and eight foot (in the direction of travel) cattle guard has proved to be more than enough to show the animal that it’s a barrier not to be contemplated.

Of special note, even round topped guards do not work with all animals.  Smaller hoofed farm and ranch livestock such as goats and some sheep can be very nimble and often have no trouble tip-toeing through.  Animals with soft pads on their feet are able to balance on the round piping and although not a comfortable footing, they are able to walk across if they desire.

Flat rails and Round Rails

Round Rail Cattle Guard

Flat Top Rail Cattle Guard

Vaulted vs Boxed Cattle Guards

A second option available in the selection of cattle guards is the boxed vs. the traditional vaulted that requires a footing to rest on.

The boxed cattle guard

Boxed guards have a steel skirt surrounding it.  The skirt may be either welded into place or be removable.  The integral box is a steel skirt welded directly on that creates a barrier for dirt to creep underneath.  With this type of box, installation may be made directly on the ground without the need of footings or digging.  To clean out any debris that may have built up over time, it is simply drug out of place and then slid right back in.   At near 12 inches tall, dirt ramps are built up on either side to allow vehicles to cross over.

This type of installation is considered less permanent and is very popular in low traffic areas and construction sites needing an equipment washout area or a dirt rumble to clean vehicles before they enter a pubic roadway.  They are also more ‘portable’ and may be move from job site to job site if necessary.

The traditional cattle guard installation is done with a concrete foundation (although other materials are also used; ie railroad ties) and a ‘vault’ area is dug underneath to collect debris.  Typically, a rectangular concrete foundation is poured to keep the dirt walls from falling in and to provide support to the beams that run in the direction of traffic.  Although not considered a difficult endeavor, an experienced contractor who is familiar with the local soil conditions and frost / freeze levels is highly recommended.  If not properly supported, changes to the soil during freezing, water saturation or runoff may affect the structural integrity of the crossing and the cattle guard itself.

ATV Cattle Guards

There is also a cattle guard specifically designed for ATV use in crossing fence-lines.  We’ve custom built these for golf carts passage as well.  Simply cut whole in your fence-line and drop this guard into place.  That’s all that’s needed!!

Drive-over Gates

Another alternative to traditional cattle guards.  These gates pivot and allow the it to lay flat for a vehicle to safely cross over and then return to their upright position automatically.  This type of gate has been successfully used in busy feed lots with lots of tractor and truck traffic and provides yet another secure means of keeping livestock in place while allowing access to busy areas.

Cattle Guard Load Ratings

The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials or AASHTO, supplies maximum load ratings necessary for highway bridges and all crossings that support traffic.  The common load design specifications are shown in the table below:

  • H-15 (12 tons per axle)
  • H-20 (16 tons per axle)
  • U-54 (25 tons per axle)
  • U-80 (30 tons per axle)

These ratings are used by engineers who issue certificates of design reports and certify builders to ensure the product meets the load requirements for the ratings used above.  To achieve the designation, manufacturers must use specific welding techniques, materials and designs before the guard can be certified and used in a public roadway.  For most highway crossings, the 16 ton per axle or H-20 rating is used.

Non-rated cattle guards do not come with an engineer’s certification and are therefore more economical than the rated.  They are used on private property and in some cases made from the same materials and design specifications as the rated.  All cattle guards sold by Barn World are built to withstand fully loaded semi-trucks and large farm equipment.  They are very popular with traditional farm and ranch operations.

Note that we do not offer concrete cattle guards.  Although they may be initially cheaper than steel guards, our experience has been that they do not offer the longevity of steel and are subject to quickly cracking and chipping when exposed to the elements.  Once it starts, the life of the crossing quickly diminishes and the entire structure will need to be replaced.  A steel barrier offers the most durability and length of life for the user.

Considered the most effective means for controlling and containing livestock on a farm and ranch while offering the ultimate ease of access for all types of vehicles, steel cattle guards offer peace of mind and security no matter who needs to pass through a fence line.

For more information on our full line of farm and ranch supplies, or for any help with your livestock supplies, contact Barn World at 720.238.2190.

 

 

 

Buff Ducks from Barn World!

Barn World is now offering Buff  Ducks!

These popular ducks are great for egg production and eating.  Called a dual-purpose breed, they have been known to lay up to 200 eggs per year.    William Cook fro Kent, UK is credited with the breed and they were introduced at a show in Islington, London in 1897 and admitted to the American Poultry Associations Stand of Perfection as the ‘ Buff Duck’ in 1914.

Originating from the same home as the chicken breed of the same name at the world famous Orpington Farms in England, they are also referred to as Orpington Ducks.

The males are the same color as the females with the exception of the Drake’s head with blends into beautiful brown.  Weighing up to 7 lbs, the hens are great layers and are about one pound lighter than the males.

Physical Features

  • Weight 7-8 lbs
  • Short Wings
  • Tail is well-curled and small
  • Buff plumage
  • Brown eyes
  • Feet are orange – yellow
  • Drake bill yellow
  • Female bill brown-orange

This breed is found in nearly all wetland habitats and eat a wide variety of insects, seeds, larvae, vegetation and grain.  Usually a surface water filter-feeder, they will occasional dive for vegetation in shallow water.

A great breed for anyone just starting out, they will arrive in their specially designed container, comfortable and ready to explore their new world.  Quick to feather out near only three months, they are considered to be a ‘smart’ breed and are a joy to have as pets or as producers.

Available hatch dates are from June, right on through September and orders ship within three days from BarnWorld.

Barn World is your home for all your livestock supplies, including everything from cattle guards to electric fencing and of course, a wide selection of ducks!  Call them today at 720.238.2190.

Barn World Cattle Guards

Cattle Guard Use

Barn World cattle guards eliminate the need for gates and allow easy access to farm and ranch land. Livestock are safely kept inside while you can access your land without having to stop to open and close a gate.

All cattle guards are constructed with heavy wall steel pipe and extra thick steel channel. All ends of these cattle guards are capped to prevent rust. Wings and boxed cattle guards are available with all sizes.

Cattle Guards and Different Styles

Boxed style cattle guards

47716 cattle guards

Boxed styles are designed to sit on flat ground with a gravel under-layment recommended for drainage of these cattle guards. In many cases these boxed cattle guards are used for wheel washes in construction sites, dirt rattlers and for providing access to low or slow traffic sites such as cell phone towers, off-site construction, driveways and other low traffic areas.  In all cases a local contractor familiar with soil conditions and drainage considerations should be consulted when planning an installation.

Flat Style Cattle Guards

47711 cattle guards

The flat style is designed to be mounted on cement footings and is the most popular in high traffic areas such as public roadways.  They are bolted directly to the concrete footings that also create the ‘vault’ or empty space under the guard.  This provide a visual deterrent to animals and is very effective in dissuading and attempt at crossing.

The flat style is a permanent installation and some designs have a hinged area on the guard that allows the center section to be lifted for cleaning out debris that may have collected in the vaulted space area underneath.  This feature is not available on all guards, but may be included with most of the highway rated crossings.

General Cattle Guard Notes

Here are some general notes and guidelines:

Load Ratings

All cattle guards can withstand the weight of full tractor-trailer loads.  The non-rated are most popular for private property such as driveways and access for farm equipment.

The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) provides guidelines for cattle guards with maximum load ratings. AASHTO load ratings are suitable for all types of applications including heavy duty logging roads. (See the table at the bottom of this article for more details on AASHTO load ratings.)

AASHTO Design Specifications

    • H-15 (12 tons per axle)
    • H-20 (16 tons per axle)
    • U-54 (25 tons per axle)
    • U-80 (30 tons per axle)

Rated cattle guards will meet the specifications needed for state and federal requirements such as DOT, BLM, USFS, NP, and US Military installations. They are also used in commercial applications such as mining, forestry, agriculture, and petroleum production. Rated cattle guards are the product of choice for residential usage where city, county, or state regulations require the HS20 rating. Certified structural steel is used in the manufacture of HS20 rated cattle guards.

HS20 cattle guards will be certified by an independent engineering firm to meet commercial standards and are intended for government bids. For use on private land, buying standard cattle guards will save you thousands of dollars, are identical in size and are made out of the same materials. They just do not come with the certifications and paperwork all the way back to the steel mill that government agencies require. If a non-rated guard for a private drive is needed, use a standard cattle guard.

Cattle guards may be constructed with 3″, 3-1/2″ or 4″-1/2″ pipe.  The 4″ pipe allows for an approximate gap of 4″ between each pipe and be built with 9 pieces.  The 3-1/2″ outside diameter pipe guards have 11 pieces and are approximately 12-1/2″ tall.

There is no difference in strength between the boxed cattle guard and the flat styles of cattle guards.  These cattle guards are designed to accommodate full semi loads at 10 tons per axle.  All cattle guards weigh about 100 Lbs. per foot (a 10′ cattle guard weighs about 1,000 Lbs.). Add approximately 8 Lbs. per foot for boxed cattle guards and about another 200 Lbs. total for winged cattle guards.

Extending the depth of deterrant

To use for deer, you may need to place two cattle guards in tandem so you have 16 feet of protection. Cattle guards are easily bolted together to achieve greater distances in the direction of travel and create a larger deterrent for any animal wishing to attempt a jump.  Please note that we recommend standard gates be used when containing horses, goats, all small hoofed and sure-footed animals and animals with paws.

Ordering your cattle guard:

For a shipping quote, please send us an email with your destination zip code and quanitity or feel free to call the telephone number at the bottom of this page with any questions you may have about our cattle guards.

When ordering cattle guards you will pay for the order without the shipping and we will collect the exact shipping cost with a second charge to the credit card used for the order.
Note: You must have equipment available to unload the cattle guards from the delivery vehicle when it arrives. The delivery truck will require you to unload the cattle guard with a loader or fork lift or some other means upon delivery.

Note with regard to dimensions: Private use cattle guards are NOT built to exact dimensions. Sizes may vary slightly. Adding the removable box option will add about 7″ to the total length and width of the cattle guard. For example, a 12 foot cattle guard will be about 12′-7″.

If you have any questions, would like a quote with shipping or if we can help with anything at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  We’ll be glad to assist in anyway we can.

Don’t forget, Barn World is your headquarters for all your farm and ranch supplies including hay feeders, livestock scales, saddle pads and even grain bins.  We have a complete selection of livestock supplies for you everyday needs.

Cattle Guards aren’t effective for all animals!

Cattle guards are not effective for all animals

As we’ve stated in previous posts, cattle guards are not designed as a deterrent for all animals or even all livestock.  To illustrate the point, here’s a cute little Beagle on YouTube that summoned the courage to cross a guard on it’s own even thought the gap between the pipes presents a real challenge.

This neat little video shows how non-hoofed creatures can navigate their way across and this little guy who is still pretty young was able to find his way.

Cattle guard:  designed for most hoofed animals

Called by many names; cattle gaps, Texas gates and many more, they are specifically for cows, bulls and deer and some other hoofed animals.  The major exception that we don’t recommend them for are horses.  The equine animals have slender legs and smaller hoofs that can allow their legs to slip in-between the pipe and when their hoof hits the bottom of the vaulted area, it can expose their legs to breaking at it’s most vulnerable point on the leg.  A horse will most likely spook at the surprise of being in such a precarious situation and will probably struggle to get out.  This can lead to spooking it’s way to a broken leg which no one wants.  We recommend only gates for horses.

Goats, sheep and other smaller hoofed, sure-footed livestock are also able to cross the guards.  We also recommend traditional standard gates for these animals as well.

While they can be an effective barrier for all animals, they are designed for cattle and work best with this type of livestock.  Other animals are simply too sure footed, cleaver or have soft pads that allowing crossings without too much trouble.

If we can help answer and questions or provide any guidance for your particular project, please don’t hesitate to let us know.  We will be more than happy to help with small private plans or larger commercial or public roadway and government jobs.

Don’t forget Barn World has a large selection of products for all your livestock supplies including everything from hay feeders to grain bins.  Please contact us at (720) 23-2190 anytime!

 

 

 

Cattle Guards offer effective and convenient livestock control

 

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Cattle guards:   the most efficient means of containing livestock without a gate.

If you have traffic through your pasture or across your fence-line,  you know how inconvenient a gate is especially if there are others that need to use it.  Not only that, but if someone were to leave the gate open or not latch it closed, you could be looking for and trying to track down your animals days later!

The cattle guard was created to allow vehicles to cross through a pasture fence-line without having to rely on opening and successfully closing a gate, however, they do not work with all animals.  As we have pointed out in other blog posts, (Cattle Guards can be dangerous to some animals) they are not effective with dogs, goats and sheep and can be especially dangerous to horses.  The best and safest means for effectively containing these type of sure-footing animals is a simple gate.

The rounded pipe cattle guard creates two deterrents for cows and other livestock

Cattle Guard

1.   Physical Discomfort:  Hoofed animals have a flat surface at the end of their legs to place their weight.  This creates discomfort and a problem with balance when attempting to walk on an uneven surface.  When placed on a rounded pipe, the hoof will rock forward or backward and create an unstable condition for the animal making it almost impossible for them to balance.  If your livestock are brave enough to even attempt venturing a leg on, it will quickly discover how difficult it is to balance.  This physical barrier is an extremely successful DETERRENT for many hoofed animals.

 

2.  Optical Barrier:  The seconded barrier element that a round-finsh cattle guard creates is mental; an optical barrier.  Being color blind and having very poor depth perception,  the shadows that are projected by the pipe between the rails, amplify the distance and depth between the pipes and will dissuade even the most stubborn or determined animals from thinking about crossing.  There have been studies on ‘virtual’ barriers that are no more than lines painted on a road to create the same optical illusion as a cattle guard, but they have been shown to have limited success in keeping cows home.

 

Picture of a ‘Virtual Cattle Guard’ from Wikipedia:

Virtual Cattle Guard

From Wikipedia

 

Deer: Deer are another common animal that can be effectively deterred by guards.  They are such athletic creatures and are able to jump large distances with little effort that it requires a larger impassable distance be created.  To effectively discourage these extreme jumpers, you need to provide at least a 12′ barrier and more commonly a 16′ barrier to prevent them from attempting a jump across.  This requires two 8′ guards be bolted together to provide a sixteen foot dimension in the direction of vehicle travel and an effective obstruction.  It goes without saying I hope that a fence, tall enough to prevent jumping, be attached to the cattle guard as well.

 

 Cattle Guards are not effective for all animals

Some animals will not be deterred or have a problem crossing a guard.  These are usually the non-hoofed variety with paws.  Dogs, cats, coyotes and others will have no trouble getting over the rounded pipes.  Even small hoofed animals such as sheep and goats will usually be able to trot right across without much effort.  Here, a gate has been shown to be the most effective.

Not for Horses or bison

The second most requested use we see for these animal deterrents is for the control of horses.  We do not recommend that they be used with horses as the horse anatomy has such a slender leg, that it’s hoof can slide down between the pipe until it reaches the bottom of the vault.  This traps the leg and exposes it to breaking easily when struggling to get out and can prove to be a devastating.  Please use a gate when keeping your horses in a pasture as a cattle guard and a horse leg do not mix well at all.

Bison or buffalo, offer a challenge at the other end of the hoof size spectrum.  Their hooves are so large, that if the surface pipes are not placed far enough apart, they can get them across the empty space span and create a stable bridge to balance on.  It is not an easy task for them, but here too, a gate is recommended for these large animals.

Crossing Cattle Guards –  A concern for human traffic

Although designed to prevent livestock from crossing,  these devises can also pose a dangerous predicament for humans, especially children.  The average gap in the piping is usually 3-1/2″ to 4-1/2″ and can be difficult for the human foot to handle when not being especially careful.  Because their feet are much smaller then an adults’ and that they may not be as well-suited for balancing on a curved surface, it can be particularly hazardous for a child to cross.  While it may be tempting to weld a small strip of metal or attach a board for people to cross, we would again recommend the use of a gate.  Even the smallest strip can allow the more sure-footed hoofed animals an escape route out of your pasture.

Flat Top Cattle Guards – a smoother alternative

When used in high traffic, or high speed areas, a flat-topped alternative can be used to provide a smoother ride for vehicles.  Although not quite as effective a barrier as the round pipe finish, the flat tops allow for an effective livestock control while providing a smoother ride for vehicles.

Cattle Guards

The individual crossing pipes that create the top of the guard are actually a flat topped hexagon that provides a smoother finish for cars and tractors to ride on.  They allow easier traversing for human feet while still creating a deterrent for animals.  Livestock are not as intimidated by this type of finish, but it can still be effective when properly installed.

Cattle guards are an efficient means of protecting and containing your livestock without the use of a gate.  They can save considerable inconvenience and provide a reliable way of keeping your animals from harm while providing effortless crossings for vehicles.

See Barn World for all your livestock supplies and help with your cattle guard projects.

 

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