What is a cattle guard?
A cattle guard, Texas gate, or cattle grid is simply an assembly of pipes laid out horizontally over a hole in the ground to discourage livestock from crossing over to the other side. The animals’ poor depth perception, coupled with their color blindness, creates an illusion of extreme depth and separation, underneath and between the bars which put off the cattle.
The cattle guard also achieves its function by creating a situation of physical discomfort for the animal. If it somehow manages to ignore its hardwired instincts, the imbalance created by the round finishes will dissuade any brave livestock.
Additionally, the contraption can also keep deer away and protect your field crops. This athletic creature can make light work of a good gate, but it will be discouraged from attempting the jump because of the vast distance it’ll have to cover.
1) It doesn’t get in the way of human mobility
Our vision and depth perceptions are just fine, so people should have no problem crossing a cattle guard. Moreover, the gaps between the bars are too small for a human foot to fit through, ensuring they pose no problem at night. Vehicles can pass with ease as well as the minor spacings still guarantee a smooth ride.
2) Cattle remain unharmed
A properly-constructed cattle guard has gaps too small to allow the hooves to slip all the way in, seeing to it that no harm comes to the animal. It is therefore completely safe for both livestock and humans alike.
3) It’s cost-effective
You can choose to build your cattle guard with metal or concrete, but either way, you’ll not be thinking about replacements or repairs for a long while. That’s particularly true for concrete, which has a longer lifespan.
You can easily build a cattle guard yourself with the assistance of a DIY tutorial, but you can get around all that work by ordering one that’s been built offsite.
While cattle guards are effective at keeping hoofed animals in or out, they don’t work as well on those with paws, e.g. coyotes, dogs, and cats, who have no problem maneuvering vacant spaces. Wild animals of this nature pose a security issue if that’s the only barrier between the farm and the outside world. This requires a cattle guard to be paired with an effective yet convenient measure, such as the bump gate, which only opens upon a significant push such as that of a vehicle. Consequently, you won’t have to worry about domestic animals wandering out or wild animals finding their way inside.
You can place this gate ahead of the cattle guard (from an inside-the-farm perspective), but you might need to raise it a little bit so that it doesn’t open against the bars when coming into the farm. Also, ensure it’s fairly level so as not to leave sufficient room for a coyote to squeeze through from below.
A bump gate is affordable and just as effective as an automatic gate and comes with little to no maintenance expenses, courtesy of its excellent immunity to harsh weather. It can provide years of services for a fraction of the price of alternatives, making it an excellent companion for your cattle guard.