Cattle Guards make livestock containment a breeze

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

Different Types of Cattle Guards

Below are a few different designs for standard and specialized uses. Traditional installations mount directly to concrete foundations while the boxed feature allows them to be used without a foundation.

BOXED-STYLE cattle guards

boxed cattle guard

The round-top rail cattle guards are available with a box welded around the perimeter. Boxed styles are designed to lay directly on flat ground on a crushed gravel bed for proper drainage. To help prevent movement and settling, they can be bolted down to buried railroad ties.

In many cases, they’re at construction sites to clean equipment, be used as a wash rack when hosing down vehicles, or as rumble strips to rattle dirt off passing trucks. The lack of foundation makes them valuable in remote locations such as cell phone towers and other low-traffic areas such as driveways or distant grazing land.

In all cases, a local contractor familiar with soil conditions and drainage considerations should be consulted when planning an installation.

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 for use in high-traffic areas and public roadways. They are bolted directly to the concrete footings and have a ‘vaulted’  area or space underneath. This provides a visual deterrent to animals and is very effective in dissuading them from attempting to cross over.

For these permanent installations, an optional hinged section made up of three top rails can be swung open to allow for cleaning out the area beneath. It makes it a lot easy to remove debris that may have been collected in the vault. This feature is not available on all guards but may be included with the flat-top rail design.

General Cattle Guard Notes

Below are some general notes, considerations, and guidelines that can help you make the proper selection for your project.

Load Ratings

All of our cattle guards are built to carry the weight of fully loaded tractor-trailers. The most economical is the private-use category, popular for driveways and general farm use. We estimate the load-carrying capacity to be around 12 tons per axle and they’re designed for use on private driveways and with general farm equipment access.

The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) provides guidelines for cattle guards and establishes maximum load ratings. The ratings are designed to match all types of applications and uses. (See the table at the bottom of this article for more details on the load ratings.)

AASHTO Load 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 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.

Using Cattle Guards with Deer

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.
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 forklift or some other means upon delivery.

Note about cattle guard 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 any way 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 your everyday needs.

Call (720) 238-2190 or email today!


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