A cattle guard, also known as a cattle gap or a cattle grid, is a livestock deterrent installed in the ground. It’s commonly used in rural areas to prevent livestock, such as cattle, from crossing a fence line and wandering off.
It is typically made up of a series of parallel steel bars, usually spaced several inches apart, and set in a vaulted area across the road. The spaced-out bars create a gap that vehicles are able to drive over but are wide enough to prevent the animals from crossing.
The flat hooves of cattle have a very difficult time balancing on the small, rounded surface of the top rails which makes it physically challenging for the cattle to put any weight on their legs.
These common barriers are used to keep livestock from wandering out of pastures and fenced containment areas and becoming lost and entering harm’s way. This includes walking onto busy roads, private property, or other fields where they’ll need to be rounded up and returned.
Comparing to Gates
Cattle guards eliminate the need for gates to be opened and closed, which reduces the risk of animals escaping or getting injured by the gate itself. Gates can also be left open accidentally which can lead to cattle wandering away from their pastures. This is especially critical in areas that require public access for people who are not familiar with the importance of closing a gate.
Gates can be damaged by passing traffic, cattle, weather, or even fail from wear and tear with repeated opening and closing.
Gates can also be difficult to open and close in accumulated snow and sometimes will even freeze shut in icy conditions. Cattle guards, on the other hand, are fixed, do not need to be ‘operated’, and require very little maintenance to remain effective.
Imagine coming home at night to an open gate and a pasture “full” of missing cattle! Locating and rounding them up in the dark can be an unwelcome challenge!
Physical and Visual Barrier
Cattle Gaps even act as a visual barrier for these large animals. The open space and gaps between the top rails make cattle very hesitant to cross. Their eyes have trouble focusing on the top rails while ignoring the deep vaulted area below. This depth perception confusion creates an uncomfortable mental issue for the cow and the confusion is a deterrent all on its own.
The combination of both physical and visual deterrents makes these barriers highly effective without much maintenance and no mechanical operation at all.
These structures are also more durable and lower maintenance when compared to gates. They don’t need adjusting over time and there are no operational issues with the installed structure.
For worry-free livestock containment, a cattle guard can’t be beat! With a gate, you’ll need to stop to open it and then stop again to close it behind you. You also need to worry about others leaving it open allowing your cattle to wander off.
Consider installing a cattle guard on your property by clicking here. Barn World has multiple loading ratings for private driveways, public highways, and heavier-than-roadway-rated cattle guards for every type of use.
Please let us know if you’d like any help in planning your project, would like a quote, or if we can help with anything at all and we’ll be happy to help.
Barn World Sales@BarnWorld.com (720) 238-2190