Bragging and Identifing
Makes sense to me. Every time I'm in the country it makes a great place for a clean catch..... beats wind drying! Sorry.... that was gross!! LOL
Thanks for all the replies. Seems more of these are in use today than I suspected. I thought they would have long ago been replaced by some new contraption...electric gates, etc.
Ziaphra explaines it well.
As for me, my ancestors were mostly farmers here in the southern U.S.
As a child during visits to the various farms with my family, these were quite common. I knew them as “cattle-gaps.” Where the houses were built in the midst of the fields enclosed by fences, where the cattle and other livestock roamed, no gate was needed with this contraption. Saved a lot of time when you didn’t have to hop out of your vehicle to open and close the gate when going and coming from home. If you look closely you can see some young calves lying near the fence in front of the house.
Usually a rectangular hole was dug and heavy metal pieces of pipe were laid across this with space left between each one. I still remember the jolting ride you got when crossing them in a car.
Some folks say you can just paint stripes across the gap in the fence and it will work just as well as the real thing. The cattle won’t cross it either.
Ro: Did the term “mata-burro” come from donkeys being injured trying to cross the cattle gaps?
Chrishoggy: You don’t see as many as I remember as a youth, but am sure they are still in use on a lot of smaller farms in the U.S. I drove for over 3 hours through mostly farm country, and this was the only one I saw. Interesting that they are used for sheep also. Makes sense.
Gary Richardson: There may still be more in use here in the southern U.S. than I am aware of. Living in the suburbs now, just had not run across one in a good while. It’s interesting to find out how many are still used in other countries.
Craig: Should have known you would get right to the heart of the matter. 8-) Commercial cattle gaps yet. What will they think of next. Maybe air conditioned tractors with stereos. 8-)
But the most startling revelation is how many of us on this forum have not yet reached the age of 50! 8-)
Thanks all, for some good info and some interesting discussion.
Here is an ode to a “cattle gap.” Found it on the web.
My Grandfather's Cattle Gap...
frightened me. Cattle knew better
than cross, but my cousins did not
and took turns fording slats
over hardly more depth than a ditch.
I refused to play Russian Roulette
on what felt like a train trestle over
a bottomless pit. Blame the story
my mother had told me:
the tomboy whose leg fell through,
broken, of course, and the train
chuffing closer and closer.
That cattle gap rattled like coffin slats.
What if some poor heifer was dumb enough
to cross over? Her bones splintered
each time I thought of it. Poor cow,
she would be shot before dawn.
Poor grand-daughter, she would be
rushed to the emergency room
only to lounge in a cast for the rest
of the summer. Yes, I blame my mother
for that silly fear. Not to mention her dream
in which the cattle gap rattles again and again
as she drives toward the burning house
where everyone she loves lies sleeping.
I found a site on the Web (so it must be true ) that affirms that there is no record of any donkey / ass (or the like) falling in one of these. So it's just bad PR, they're not that stoopid.
The hard work comes when you actually want to herd cattle over one of them. You have to lay ply wood over them so the cattle can cross. I've seen cows shy away and refuse to cross them even when "boarded up".
Tragic thing, my brother lost a great cutting pony when it slipped on cow sh*t on the boards and it's right leg got caught up in the pipes on the edge (beyond the boards), so now, most working ranchers around here install a post and wire gate (fencing gate) to the side of the cattle guard and open that up and herd the cows through that. They usually park a tractor or truck across the cattle guard to keep cows from trying to cross that way.
Hello, Everyone. I am over 50...but just barely! Laughing. When I googled "cattle gap" for a project I'm working on, I found this! May I ask where the picture was made? I grew up in a rural area in central Mississippi way back in the twentieth century, and most of our neighbors had cows and corn cribs and gardens with the Kentucky Wonder pole beans climbing their tee-pees....and cattle gaps. Ours were not made of pipes, but of creosote ties (kind of like railroad ties, but smaller). The rectangular hole over which the ties were laid was called a culvert. Thank you for the picture; it revived some warm memories. (To the best of my knowledge, cattle gaps were never used for "squat and go" purposes because they were close to the road and someone might be driving past)!
Oh, the project I am working on is about fences, and I am gathering ideas about the literal and figurative fences in the August Wilson play, "Fences."
The photo was provided by Steve Conway who lives in north central Florida (if I remember correctly). Keep us posted (pun intended) on your project.
Thanks for the nice comments re. the pic.
I was driving in North Florida a few weeks back and came across this great old farm. This is just a portion of a picture of several I shot. It reminded me of my boyhood days visiting my relatives farms in South Ga. Wanted to go in and talk with the people who live there, but did not have the time that day. I may yet go back.
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