Cattle Guard Foundations – Setting A Texas Gate

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 Foundations

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 local site conditions such as freebie 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 diagram

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 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.
portable cattle guard

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 – Sales@BarnWorld.com

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Cattle Guards are the Ultimate Livestock Gate!

Cattle Guards are the ultimate invisible livestock gate

By Barn World 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 with removable box for cleaning underneath

Take a look at some of the more common options to find the fit that’s right for your crossing.

Top Rail 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.

Flat Top Rails

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.
flat top rail cattle guard

ROUNDTOP Rails

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 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.
cattle guard with round pipes

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, they eventually were able to overcome their initial hesitation and cross without effort.  Once they were able to determine the road was indeed flat, they did cross easily. The optical illusion of a barrier did deter them for a time, but when there was an incentive 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’.

Round Steel Rails are Effective

The traditional round top rail cattle guard, couples the optical deterrent with the physical to provide the most effective obstruction. Livestock that are motivated to attempt a crossing and is 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 attempting 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.

Cattle Guards Don’t Work With All Animals

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 can balance on the round piping and although not a comfortable footing, they can walk across if they desire.


Flat top-pipe cattle guard 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 box is designed to lay directly on the ground in low traffic areas without a concrete foundation.

The boxed cattle guard

boxed cattle guard to lay on the ground
Boxed guards have a steel skirt surrounding them. The skirt may be either welded into place or be built to 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 for 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 nearly 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 moved from job site to job site if necessary.

Cattle Guard Installation

is done with a concrete foundation (although other materials are also used; for example 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.

cattle guard resting on concrete foundations

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. Once you connect your fencing to the vertical supports in the middle, you’re done. That’s all that’s needed!

atv resting on a cattle guard

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 its upright position automatically.  This type of gate has been successfully used in busy feedlots with lots of tractor and truck traffic and provides yet another secure means of keeping livestock in place while allowing access to busy areas.

truck driving over a livestock gate

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:


Per Axle Load Ratings
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.

Driveway Cattle Guards

When used on private property, the grids don’t require an engineer’s certification and are therefore more economical than the rated. Designed for use on private property, they can be 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.

Concrete Cattle Guards

Note that we do offer an alternative to steel: concrete cattle guard forms. These poly forms create a livestock barrier that won’t allow a hoof to slide down between steel rails. They taper together into a 2-inch base as shown below.

concrete cattle guard

There are two different forms for use. One is set in the ground and left there after the pour. The other is a reusable form that allows you to pour as many as you like!  Click either picture below for more details.


large concrete cattle guard form being unloaded by two people  reusable concrete cattle guard form with tractor pulling out a finished guard

Effortless Cattle Crossings

Considered the most effective means of controlling and containing livestock on a farm and ranch. These crossings offer the ultimate ease of access for all types of vehicles. They create 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 any help with your livestock supplies, contact Barn World at 720.238.2190 or Sales@BarnWorld.com today!.

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Cattle Guards For Sale – Livestock Containment

Cattle Guard Choices

Cattle guards eliminate the need for gates and allow easy access to farm and ranch pastures. 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 supports. All of the ends of these cattle guards are capped to prevent rust from water from entering the top rails.  The covered ends also keep dirt, debris, and small animals out.  The wings and optional box (removable and fixed) are available in all sizes.

Cattle Guards Styles

Boxed, Removable boxes, round top rails, flat top rails, ratings, and even the addition of pre-cast foundations are available options!

Boxed style cattle guards

Cattle Guard designed to lay on the ground for driveway use

Boxed styles are designed to sit on flat ground with a gravel under-lament 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

cattle guards and foundations
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 space under the guard.  This provides a visual deterrent to animals and is very effective in dissuading an 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 of our cattle guards are built to accommodate the fully loaded weight tractor-trailer loads. The non-rated are most popular for private property such as driveways and are estimated to carry loads of 12 tons per axle.

The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) provides guidelines for cattle guards with maximum load ratings. The 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 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 HS-20 rating. Certified structural steel is used in the manufacture of HS-20-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 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 is 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.

Deer need a larger barrier

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 quantity, 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.

Unloading: 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 forklift or some other means upon delivery.

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 any time and we’ll be happy to answer any questions and even provide a quote with shipping right to your site!

Sales@BarnWorld.com | (720) 238-2190 | www.BarnWorld.com

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Drive Over Gates Are A Cattle Guard Alternative

Drive Over Gates are a great Cattle Guard Alternative

Barn World is excited to announce the arrival of the Drive-Over Gate. No need to stop to open a gate, pull through only to stop again to close the gate. This gate allows you to simply drive right over it! It will return to its upright position automatically as soon as the vehicle or trailer is clear.

truck crossing over a drive over gate

Drive Over Gate Uses

The gate allows easy access to all your fenced-in areas without the hassle of leaving your vehicle to open and close your gates. This simple design has been tested in high-traffic feedlots with all sorts of different vehicles. We tested it repeatedly with very large tractors and heavy loads to ensure the durability of the gate and with the weight of every load transferred directly to the ground, there was no limit to what the gate could handle. It proved extremely durable and trouble-free as shown in the video above.

It also allows for smaller ATVs, walk-through, and walk-over traffic to easily pass a fence line. Large or heavy loads are not necessary to ‘open’ the gate and it is easily passable by stepping on it or by removing the pass-through stakes and simply replacing them once you’ve gone through.

It also works well with your irrigation pivots!

Drive over gate set up for irrigation pivot wheels

Gate Operation

The Drive-Over Gate is held in position with solid, heavy-duty springs that ensure many years of trouble-free use and is designed to be opened by all vehicles, large and small, from ATVs to large tractors with trailers. The tension on the springs may be adjusted to keep the gate as firm as you’d like from day one to through day 10,000.

No more gates to open or close! This gate allows you to drive right over it without exiting your vehicle! It returns to its upright position automatically and is extremely durable.

The gate is accessible from both sides and is easily pushed down by all vehicles and implements – from a small ATV to a tractor with attachments. Irrigation pivots can cross fences at any time and if you need to walk through, simply pull out one or two of the cushion rods and step through the gate. You may also just push the gate over slightly and step on it to cross.

  • Easy for one person to set up and move to a different location
  • Available in 6′, 14′ or 16′ widths
Drive over gate Video

Livestock gate

The drive-over or push-over gate is great at containing your animals while allowing easy access to all of your pastures and fenced-in areas. The gates are large and sturdy enough that livestock won’t look twice at them as a means of escape. Even if they do try and ‘test’ it, a push against the gate only leads to the gate pushing back and frightening the animal away. They quickly learn not to mess with the moving gate.
The speed that the gate ‘resets’ to its upright position may be adjusted by varying the tension on the springs or the telescoping tubing. There isn’t much pressure on the rods when they are in the down position so they barely tickle the underside of a vehicle as it crosses over. Please see the above video for a demonstration.

Installing a Drive Over Gate Cattle Guard Alternative

With its simple and reliable design, it’s very easy to install the gate. The site must be level and clear of obstructions in both directions for proper performance. In the winter, you’ll want to make sure the snow doesn’t pile up on either side as the weight of a crossing vehicle may bend the rods when compressed over large ice buildups. The gate is virtually maintenance-free.

Cattle Guard Alternative

This gate has been used to provide easy access to all fence lines and its durability allows for all types of vehicles to cross effortlessly. When comparing it to a cattle guard installation, there is no comparison. No vaulted area or foundation is required to be dug and poured with concrete. A 6-8 inch gravel base is recommended and it installs in much less time, without an engineer, contractor, or permits needed that are necessary with a cattle guard install. Simple to install and simple to use is why this gate is so popular and effective.

drive over gate brochure

If you have any questions or would like a quote with shipping, please contact Barn World at 720.238.2190 or send an email to Sales@BarnWorld.com, and we will be more than happy to help!
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Cattle Guards are not effective with all animals!

gray round top pipe cattle guard

As we’ve stated in previous posts, cattle guards are not designed as a deterrent for all animals or even all livestock. The rounded surface of the top rails prevents the flat hoof of large animals from being able to balance while standing on it. The instability prevents them from putting weight on their hooves and the uncomfortable balancing act prevents them from crossing.

Some smaller flat-hoofed animals such as goats and even some sheep can get their smaller hooves to balance on the top ridge and can ‘tiptoe’ across just the tops of the rails. The same holds for soft pads on crossing feet. Dogs can learn to conquer the barrier and cats have no problems at all.

Can Horses Cross Cattle Guards?

A lot of people use cattle guards to deter horses but we don’t recommend it. A horse typically won’t both with unstable footing and will usually shy away from the unusual and unstable footing.

HOWEVER, if the proper incentive or more commonly they get scared or confused, they could accidentally stumble onto the barrier.  Their smaller hoofs can sometimes slide down between the top rails until they hit the bottom of the vault. This exposes their legs to the steel rails and in a struggle to get out, they could break their leg. Exposing a horse to this possible catastrophe is not recommended.

While they can be an effective barrier for many animals, they are designed for cattle and work best with livestock. Other animals can be too sure-footed, clever, or use their soft pads without too much trouble.

Humans are not as well adapted to crossing as you might think. It can become second nature to cross round top rails but sometimes it takes a bit of practice.

Goats, sheep, and other smaller hoofed or even sure-footed animals are also able to make their way across.  A metal swing gate is the best way to keep horses, small hooves, and soft-padded creatures from crossing.

farm gate in yellow

Cattle Guard Designs

The traditional construction uses round top rails for the most effective deterrent however, this also creates the roughest ride for crossing vehicles. The most prominent design for high-speed highway traffic is the flat top rail.

cattle guard with flat top rails and green paint

This configuration uses an almost square railing welded to the beams below to create a smoother crossing for vehicles. The gap between the rails is slightly larger than the round and it is still a very effective barrier.

They’re available in higher load carrying ratings than what’s required for public roadways (16 tons per axle) as shown below:

Cattle Guard Load Ratings
H-15 (12 tons per axle)
H-20 (16 tons per axle)
U-54 (25 tons per axle)
U-80 (30 tons per axle)

They’re also available to ship with pre-cast concrete footing and wings.cattle guard mounted to concrete foundations These deliveries are very heavy and require that the receiver provide a mechanical means of unloading as the delivery drivers don’t have a way of removing them for a trailer.

It is extremely convenient to have the foundations arrive with the cattle guards. You won’t have to pour your own footings on site!  The concrete has j-bolts already embedded to fit the grid when set on top so if your site is already prepared, they can be set in place, bolted down, and back-filled all in one day!

Please be sure to consult a local contractor who is familiar with the site conditions like freezing levels, drainage, building codes, etc. for a long-lasting installation.

If we can help answer any questions or provide any guidance for your particular project, please don’t hesitate to ask. We’ll be happy to answer any questions and prepare a quote with shipping right to your site.

Don’t forget Barn World has a large selection of products for all your livestock supplies including everything from hay feeders to grain bins.

Contact us any time at (720) 23-2190 or Sales@BarnWorld.com!

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Cattle Guards from Barn World

Cattle Guards allow easy access to farm and ranch land by eliminating the need for gates. They give free and open access through fence lines but keep livestock contained inside. All of our cattle guards are constructed with heavy wall steel pipe and extra thick steel channel supports. The ends are capped to prevent rust and wings and boxes are available with all sizes.

truck passing over a cattle guard on a road

Cattle Guard Types

There are two main categories to compare: round and flat top rail. The round rails are the most aggressive animal deterrent as they have round tops to prevent flat hooves from balancing. The drawback is that they create a rougher ride for high-speed vehicles.

The flat-top rails guards have slightly smaller rails spaced a bit further apart and are still very effective with cattle. They also provide a smoother vehicle crossing but are a bit more expensive.

Either is a great option for containing cattle and we’ve reviewed some more details between the two below.

Round Top Rail Cattle Guards

This is probably the most common for private property use such as driveways, pastures, and even remote areas such as cell phone towers and oil wells. They’re more economical than the flat and provide a strong cattle barrier.

They’re available in a boxed and removable box design. These two features allow it to be placed directly on the ground without digging a vault or pouring cement footings! The steel skirt, or box, goes around the perimeter to keep dirt from creeping in beneath the top rails.

The removable design allows the center grid of rails and channels to be removed without disturbing the surrounding site  Very handy in high debris areas where frequent cleanings are needed.

Boxed style cattle guard Options


round top rail cattle guard

Boxed styles are designed to lay directly on flat ground with a gravel under-lament recommended for drainage from the site. The box is a great option and is very popular for areas that don’t require foundations or vaults. These include lower traffic and remote or private uses. In all cases, be sure to consult with a contractor who is familiar with soil conditions including drainage, freezing levels, and any local building codes.

Flat Rail Cattle Guards

heavy duty cattle guard with flat top rails

The flat style is designed to be mounted on cement footings and is the most popular in high traffic, high-speed areas such as public roadways. They are bolted directly to the concrete footings which come with pre-embedded j-bolts for anchoring. This setup is extremely convenient for those who don’t want to pour their own foundations or can’t get cement to a remote area economically. You can unload them from the truck and put them directly in place.

The flat-top rail guards have an optional hinged area that allows the center section to be tilted up and away. This allows for easy access beneath the rails for cleaning out debris underneath. It’s not available on all guards, but may be included with the flat top rail designs.

General Cattle Guard Notes

Here are some general notes and guidelines to help with the selection of the right type for your installation.

Load Ratings

All of our cattle guards can withstand the weight of full tractor-trailer loads. The private use of round rails is the most economical and popular for private property such as driveways and farm entrances.

The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) provides guidelines for cattle guards with maximum load ratings. The 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 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 HS-20 rating. Certified structural steel is used in the manufacture of HS-20-rated cattle guards.

HS-20 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 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″ pipes.  The 4″ pipe allows for an approximate gap of 4″ between each pipe and is 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.

Using Cattle Guards with Deer

To use with 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 quantity, or feel free to call the telephone number at the bottom of this page with any questions you may have about our cattle guards.

Delivery:  Due to their large sizes and weights, you will need to have unloading equipment available upon delivery. The driver won’t be able to remove the guards or foundations from the trailer.

Dimensions: Private use cattle guards are NOT built to exact dimensions. Sizes may vary slightly and adding the removable box option will add about 7″ to the overall length and width.

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 any way we can.

Sales@BarnWorld.com | (720) 238-2190 | www.BarnWorld.com

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Cattle Guards and Livestock Management

Cattle Guards offer livestock containment and peace of mind

Owning and running a ranch is a full-time job. It’s a 24-hour labor of love to raise and care for many animals at a time. Moving around to feed and attend to your livestock requires access to pastures that must be able to contain and protect while allowing ease of access for equipment and vehicles. A cattle guard is the perfect solution and they come in many different shapes and sizes to allow for most any type of use.

cattle guard installed in a roadway with wings

We do not recommend a cattle guard be used for all types of animals.

Horses and Small Hoofed Animals:

For some animals, these barriers just don’t work and can sometimes put them in harm’s way. Goats and other small, sure-footed creatures, can trot right across the top of the rails. Some larger animals like horses have slender hoofs that can present danger with possible dire consequences.

It is possible that some horses can slide their hoof between the top rails and into the vaulted area beneath. This can expose the most delicate and fragile part of the leg to the steel rails on each side. Once in the guard, it is extremely, if not impossible for them to get out. They will most likely try, become full of panic, and can break their leg in the struggle.

We strongly recommend only using a gate to contain horses.

Cattle Guards and Deer
Deer are agile creatures with small hoofs and incredible athleticism. The installation requires a modification to be an effective deterrent.

Their ability to effortlessly jump large distances means that distance needs to be increased to be effective.  We typically install at least a 12-foot barrier, with 16 feet being an ideal distance to discourage them from jumping across. To get that kind of depth, two guards are bolted together, side-by-side to double the width of the ‘Texas Gate’. Seeing the larger distance will persuade them to find another direction to travel.

Cattle Guards and Non-hoofed Animals

The working mechanism of the grid is the curved surface of the top rails.  The hoof is flat on the bottom and when placed on a curved surface, it acts like a teeter-totter and doesn’t allow the animal to balance. This uncomfortable and physically challenging surface means they can’t put any weight on their leg. That, along with the limited depth perception in cows, provides a strong and seemingly impossible barrier to hoofed animals.

Those with padded feet, however, can balance on the rounded pipe as their point of contact is flexible. The ability to stand on a small curved surface allows them to balance and walk on the very tops of the rails

This means the guards are not very effective in keeping out dogs, cats, coyotes, and other ‘soft-footed’ four-legged friends. They’re able to walk across and only a gate would be able to stop them.

yellow metal gate

Types of Cattle Guards

Barn World offers several types of cattle guards for both private and public use.

Private use cattle guards are perfect for farm and ranch use and for access areas where the total axle weight is up to 10 tons. Semi-trailers, tractors, and large farming equipment are perfect for this type of guard.

They’re more economical than the flat top guards and provide a more aggressive livestock deterrent.

Round Top Rails

cattle guard with round top rails

The round rail is very popular across the US and especially for private land use. It’s more economical and can be easy to install. Concrete foundations are always recommended as is a flat but well-drained site. They’re available with a few different options depending on the type of installation desired.

These include the skirted grid for installation directly on the ground (Boxed) as well as wings and even a removable box design.

Boxed style cattle guards

Not all installations require a foundation for the grid to rest on. This skirted style can be set directly on the ground and the welded on perimeter box keeps dirt from coming in below the top rails. Most private users will dig a hole with a gravel base for drainage so the 12″ tall guard is about 2″ above the road surface.

For more stability, especially if the site is not perfectly flat, burying a couple of railroad ties to bolt to can help reduce any walking and offer the security of being ‘tied to the ground”.

A gravel base is recommended for proper drainage so the steel skirt welded to the outside won’t’ hold water and compromise the surrounding soil.

In many cases, the boxed design is used for construction site equipment wheel washes or rumble stripes to remove dirt before re-entering a roadway. They can also be picked up and moved to the next job to guard against tracking unwanted debris.

The Boxed Cattle Guard

boxed cattle guard with a steel skirt welded to the perimeter
All of our cattle guards can withstand the weight of full tractor-trailer loads and are typically made with 3 1/2″ or 4 1/2″ outside diameter pipe. Depending on the size used, they are made with either 9 rails of 4 1/2″ or 11 rails of 3 1/2″ outside diameter pipe 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.

Specifications

Each completed grid weighs near 110 pounds per foot (a 10′ cattle guard weighs about 1,100 Lbs.). Add approximately 8 pounds per foot for the addition of a box and near another 200 pounds in the total weight for a pair of wings. 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 and the extra depth can help deter deer from crossing or jumping.

Important Delivery Notes:

  1. 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 forklift or some other means upon delivery.
  2. Private use cattle guards are NOT built to exact dimensions and 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″.

ATV Cattle Guard

We also carry a unique cattle guard design for ATV use. It’s built to be set directly on the ground in your fence line. You may simply cut your fence, set the guard in place, and reattach your fence to the size of it to provide easy access to your all-terrain vehicles. atv cattle guard

For more information on cattle guards, installation, or for help with any of your livestock supply needs, please visit www.BarnWorld.com today or call (720) 238-2190 and we’ll be happy to help.

Remember, Barn World is y our home for everything from saddle pads, hay feeders, grain bins, mineral feeders, and everything to do with livestock.  We even carry livestock scales!

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Cattle Guard Options – planning livestock control

Cattle guards allow for ease of access to your pastures and livestock or keep your valuable animals at home without the use of cumbersome gates.  It’s not necessary to stop, get out of your vehicle or climb down from your farm equipment to open a gate, or drive through, all the while watching for animals trying to escape along the way, only to then get out again to close the livestock gate behind you.   Better make sure it’s secure behind you to prevent a jailbreak when you’re not around!  The guards offer peace of mind knowing that a gate wasn’t left open and that you won’t have to spend your day chasing your cattle or other animals around the county!.

That’s why Barn World offers not only a large selection of livestock supplies but also a wide variety of cattle guards and options.

Cattle Guard Options

Flat Pipe vs. Round Pipe – two different finishes for different uses.

The flat rails offer vehicles a smoother ride when crossing the control area and are a valuable option to consider when higher speeds are present. Even though the flat-topped guard isn’t quite as daunting to livestock as the round pipe, it still provides a very effective deterrent. These are typically used on highways and in high traffic areas where speeds and vehicle comfort are a priority.

flat top rail cattle guard
Round pipe offers the most effective means of dissuading animal crossings. A large part of the deterrent is a mental and visual cue that the animal perceives.  The round rails create s a deeper shadow and the perception of a larger obstacle than the flat. It also offers a more challenging physical barrier. A flat hoofed animal with have a very difficult time finding footing on a rounded surface and won’t be able to balance its hoof on the pipe. We have seen cattle ‘test’ a guard by placing a single hoof on the pipe only to realize that it can’t place any weight on the hoof to cross.

If the visual appearance doesn’t immediately persuade it to stay away, the inability to balance a single hoof on the cattle guard will. The round style is very popular on farms, ranches, private drives, and public roadways.

cattle guard with round top rails

Cattle Guard Boxes

Boxed cattle guards allow for installation directly on the ground. Dirt is typically piled up on each side to provide a ramp for vehicles to cross the 12” tall barrier. The box itself is simply a steel skirt that prevents dirt from creeping in underneath and filling in the space under the guard. You may choose from the integral box, which is welded directly to the perimeter seen here,

Boxed Cattle Guard

or a removable box that allows for cleaning the vault area below without disturbing the area around it by simply lifting the guard:

cattle guard removable box

These boxed guards are extremely popular and useful for construction sites as washouts, and dirt shakers and allow for installation without digging a vault and pouring footings. To clean debris out from underneath, it can simply be drug from its resting place and then returned. It is important to install on level ground to prevent movement over time.

Cattle Guard Wings

Wings are used to connect the guard to a fence line to prevent livestock from crossing around the fence post. They are triangles that are attached to the ends of the barrier, lean away from the roadway, and provide a vertical post to run the fencing to. Without them, crossing around the last fence post can be possible and some animals may just skirt the guard.

Cattle Guard Animal Safety

It’s important to remember that these barriers are not effective for all types of animals and of particular note, we don’t recommend them for horses. Horses’ hooves and legs are such that they can slide their leg down between the pipes. They then panic to get out and can break their slender leg. We suggest a typical farm gate be used at all times to contain horses.

Other animals that may not be discouraged and can simply walk across the tops or rounded pipe are goats, dogs & cats, sheep, and hogs. They are more sure-footed and can trot right across a cattle guard.

For information or help with your cattle guard project, whether it’s for private use, construction, public roadways, or heavy-duty off-road use, please contact Barn World and we will be happy to help plan your project with you.

As always, please go to www.BarnWorld.com or call 720.238.2190 for all of your livestock supply needs!

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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 others 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 types of sure-footing animals is a simple gate.

The rounded rail 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 is 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 second barrier element that a round-finish 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 painted on the road

From Wikipedia

Deer:  Deer are another common animal that can be effectively deterred by guards.  They are such athletic creatures and can jump large distances with little effort that it requires a larger impassable distance to 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 to be bolted together to provide a sixteen-foot dimension in the direction of vehicle travel and an effective obstruction. 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 is 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 its 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 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 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 devices 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 than an adult’s and 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 effective livestock control while providing a smoother ride for vehicles.

Cattle Guard on concrete foundation

The individual crossing pipes that create the top of the guard are 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.

Related articles

Cattle Guard article from Working Ranch for Barn World

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Cattle Guards can be dangerous for some animals

Barn worldCattle Guards at Barn World

Cattle guards can be dangerous to some animals.

Although they may be the most efficient means of keeping livestock in without a gate, we don’t recommend them for all animals.

When Gates are the Best Option

Horses, may be be most at risk and when attempting to cross a guard. The anatomy of a horses’ leg are such that they may slip down between the pipes forming the top of the guard and in to the vault area underneath. This will expose the weakest part of their legs to breakage, and once panicked, they can break it quite easily while struggling to get out. For their safety, we only recommend the use of gates with horses.

Goats and dogs are immune to cattle guards. These sure-footed animals can simply walk with ease across the top of the pipes. Again, gates are the best option for containment.

Deer Guards

Deer are extremely athletic creatures. Their ability to jump seems almost effortless as they cross large distances in graceful hops. It becomes necessary to extend the distance of the guard in the direction of travel to deter these animals from attempting cross. A common white tail or mule deer can easily jump an 8 foot distance without any effort at all. These animals require a better deterrent than a cow and and by combining and bolting together two guards, the effective crossing area becomes too daunting even for these creatures. We recommend at least 16 feet in the direction of the vehicle travel to dissuade even the most ambitious jumpers.

When considering barriers for deer, it is important to remember that not only can they jump across large distances, but they can also jump over tall fence lines. This will require that the fence line be extended directly to the edge of the cattle guard. With bovine, a set of wings prevent crossings on the shoulders of the roadway, but with deer, a tall fence right to the shoulder will required. You want to prevent jumping across the ends of the fencing.

Cattle Guards are for Bovine

The best use for these barriers is of course with cattle. The traditional round pipe guard has been found to be more effective than the flat top. Flat top finishes allow for smoother vehicle crossings, but the best for livestock have rounded tops.

Part of the effectiveness is a visual trick played on the cattle’s depth perception. The shadows created by the round pipe make the crossing look even daunting than it actually is. This in turn creates an even larger mental barrier and dissuades most livestock from even considering a crossing. There are the occasional large bulls that when properly motivated can attempt a 6 foot or sometimes even an 8 foot jump, but these are few and far between. When properly installed with wings, almost all cattle will refrain from even attempting a crossing.

Although designed almost exclusively for cattle, these barriers may be also be used for deer, when properly installed.

ATV Cattle Guard

side view of atv on a cattle guard

New this year is the ATV guard. Designed for ease of installation, this portable, standalone barrier is a great option for fence line crossings for off-road vehicles in remote areas. We have even custom designed these for golf cart crossings of fence lines. Simply make a cut in your fence and drop into place. It couldn’t be easier to install and the built-in rise creates an extremely effective optical and physical barrier.

Barn World offers plenty of assistance

If you have any questions about your cattle guard project, or need any help at all, please don’t hesitate to contact Barn World when planning your installation. We have a wide variety and can offer quotes and bids for any project.

Barn World, LLC
720.238.2190

 

 

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