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. | (720) 238-2190 |


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *