How to select a cattle guard crossing

There are many factors to consider when choosing a cattle guard for your crossing. Some of the most important are: The type of traffic using it, the speed of traffic, and of course, the type of animal they’re being installed for.

Please note that cattle guards don’t work with all animals. Animals with small, sure-footed hooves like goats can make it across as can soft-padded feet like cats and dogs. We also don’t recommend they be used with horses as their smaller and slender legs have the potential of sliding between the bars.

Below are a few guidelines for help with selecting the right type of cattle guard for your project.

Cattle Guard Top Rail Types

These livestock barriers are typically made of steel with round or flat top rails. There are also concrete designs for lower-traffic areas as well.  Each has its advantages and we’ve listed a few here.

Cattle Guards – Flat Top Rails

cattle guard resting on a concrete foundation
Flat-top rails are ideal for roadways with high-speed traffic. While round-top rails tend to be the most effective at stopping the flow of hoofed traffic, they can also be jarring for vehicles, especially at high speeds.

Flat-top rails make for a more comfortable ride and still offer an effective barrier for containing cattle.  In addition, the flat-top rail design is easier for humans to walk over if necessary. Our flat rail cattle guards meet AASHTO standards and are rated for loads ranging from 12-30 tons per axle, depending on the product and needed load-carrying capacity.

Cattle Guards – Round Top Rails

Heavy Duty Cattle GuardOne of the most effective methods of keeping cattle in a designated area such as a pasture, or out of an area such as around a home is the round-top rail. They can be used to keep deer out when mounted side-by-side and the rounded surface prevents livestock from balancing a hoof

We’re pleased to offer options suitable for both private and public roadway use in round rails. The private-use design is the most economical and we estimate its capacity at 12 tons per axle to accommodate fully loaded semis. Public roadways and highways naturally require more robust materials, and our products for this purpose meet applicable standards with schedule 40 steel rated for loads up to 16 tons per axle.

Concrete Cattle Guard Forms

concrete cattle guard form
As you may know, cattle guards are an effective deterrent for hoofed animals like cows and deer, but they can be downright dangerous for horses.  What if you have both on your property?  Concrete cattle guard forms are the perfect solution.  They’ll keep cattle
contained, just like steel, but the narrowing gap ensures that horse hooves won’t slide down and get caught between rails, creating a risk of broken legs as the animal struggles.

Concrete cattle guard forms also offer the opportunity to create as many cattle guards as you might need, and because they’re rendered in concrete, they act as their own foundation.

The forms are easy to ship and we offer a reusable design. You may pour as many concrete crossings as you like and set them end-to-end directly on the ground.  They are their own foundations!

Cattle Guard Foundations and Wings

While you could set steel cattle guards in a depression or directly on a roadway, there are several disadvantages to doing so.  The guards could walk, or shift position from traffic driving over an uneven roadway surface.  They may also settle into a trench, or settle unevenly, creating hazardous driving conditions.  With proper foundations in place, you can avoid these potentially dangerous installations and prevent settling and moving.

Wings are another smart addition as they help you effectively tie in adjacent fencing.  Wings prevent livestock from walking around the fence post where it meets the cattle guard. The steel structure transfers the physical barrier of the fence line to the entire edge of the cattle guard, making the ‘walk around’ impossible.

ATV Cattle Guards

ATV Cattle Guard

There may be areas of your property where you want to get through fencing without the need for a gate, but you don’t necessarily need a cattle guard large and robust enough to accommodate full-sized vehicles.

Small, portable, and affordable ATV cattle guards are the ideal solution.  These diminutive structures require no foundations or digging.  Simply cut a hole in your fence line, place the guard on the ground, and tie it into your fencing for quick and easy installation.  The raised center design provides an effective deterrent to cattle while allowing your machines to easily cross.

They’ll accommodate Gators, Kubotas, and other ATVs up to six feet wide. Larger sizes are available upon request and feature a re-design for the longer wheelbases on 4-place machines.

Be sure to consider the above when selecting the type of cattle guard for your project and let us know if we can help with your decision.

Barn World  |  |  (720) 238-2190