cows walking the cattle gap

Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:49 pm

On my small farm I have 2 cattle gaps (sometime called a cattle guard) that are made of pipe and are as similar as any other cattle gap I have seen. The cows and calves are tip-toeing across it so it is basically useless. I have read somewhere that folks have painted the pipe or the concrete pad and solved this problem. Do any of you have any experience with this problem? I could use some hints or help.

Re: cows walking the cattle gap

Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:17 pm


I don't know about the painting, but I know that if the area under the pipes gets to full of dirt, sand, mud, etc. that cattle will begin to walk over them. I hope you solve your problem. Cattle being where they are not wanted is no fun.


Re: cows walking the cattle gap

Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:46 pm

Several around here claim that if you paint them bright yellow or safety yellow the cattle will shy away.

Re: cows walking the cattle gap

Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:23 am

Thanks for the replies.....
I spoke to a friend of mine last night and he told me about the yellow paint, I also have heard about sky blue paint.
Dirt build-up is minimal but I will clean it out, I have some weeds growing in the cattle gap from the dirt build-up so that might well be a big contributing factor.

Re: cows walking the cattle gap

Thu Feb 26, 2009 8:38 am

Last edited by Redman on Mon Jun 14, 2010 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: cows walking the cattle gap

Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:48 am

Thanks guys......

Re: cows walking the cattle gap

Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:31 pm

Ain't cows color blind?

Re: cows walking the cattle gap

Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:56 am

Virginia Mike wrote:Ain't cows color blind?

Yep so are horses. I have had problems with horses getting spooked from white plastic shopping bags. My only guess is that it comes off in there vision as a bright probably glowing object. Perhaps like looking at a warm object through nite vision goggles. Maybe yellow and lt blue come off the same.


Re: cows walking the cattle gap

Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:52 pm

it has a lot to do with depth perception, if they can't judge what they are stepping into they probably won't being deep enough that they can't tip toe through helps also. i want to put one out back so i don't have to fool with a gate. guess i'll start looking for some pipe. 8)

Re: cows walking the cattle gap

Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:57 pm

+One of the things I have seen done in this area is a concrete vault with the drive part made of drill steel from well drill rigs. The steel is very strong and tapered. they are installed with large ends alternating, and the large end embedded firmly, and the small end in a oversize hole so it can move. It makes an awful noise when you drive over it, but it is really rare that a cow or calf will walk it. They don't like the movement.

Re: cows walking the cattle gap

Sat Jun 27, 2009 4:33 pm

All the ones around here are painted white. Seems to work fine.

Re: cows walking the cattle gap

Mon Jul 06, 2009 2:16 pm

Growing up on a farm we were always sure that cattle weren't entirely color blind. I copied the following from Wikipedia:
A common misconception about cattle (particularly bulls) is that they are enraged by the color red (something provocative is often said to be "like a red flag to a bull"). This is incorrect, as cattle are red-green color-blind. The myth arose from the use of red capes in the sport of bullfighting; in fact, two different capes are used. The capote is a large, flowing cape that is magenta and yellow. The more famous muleta is the smaller, red cape, used exclusively for the final, fatal segment of the fight. It is not the color of the cape that angers the bull, but rather the movement of the fabric that irritates the bull and incites it to charge.
Although cattle cannot distinguish red from green, they do have two kinds of color receptors in the cone cells in their retinas. Thus they are dichromatic, the same as most other mammals (including dogs, cats, horses and up to ten percent of male humans). They are able to distinguish some colors, particularly blue from yellow, in the same way as most other mammals.

Re: cows walking the cattle gap

Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:46 pm

i know a feller who is red green color blind ridin with him in town was scary. said he could only see the yellow of the traffic lites and yellow meant speed up!

Re: cows walking the cattle gap

Sat Dec 31, 2011 9:20 pm

This is an old thread, but I thought I would chime in... Cows, as stated above, aren't totally color blind. Just red-green, which a lot of humans are as well. But, cows have very poor depth perception. I've had trouble just bringing cows into the milking parlor when the morning sun casts a sharp shadow across the concrete. They just won't cross it! I'd usually have to gather a shovelful of wood shavings we use for bedding and sprinkle it on the concrete to "soften" the shadow line.

As stated above, if the pit has filled in underneath a cattle guard, and there is no contrast, cows won't have any reservations about crossing it. The first things cows will do when you put them in a new paddock is walk the fence line to find "a way out". The grass is always greener on the other side, and everybody has a "the cows got out" story. Back to contrast, some "cattle guards" out west here on the freeways and such are just painted, alternate stripes of black and white paint. I'd just make sure the cattle guard is cleaned out underneath and the pipes/angle iron/whatever contrasts with the background.