All Around the Homestead: Water-Gap Solution | Living the Country Life

All Around the Homestead: Water-Gap Solution

This DIY solution from one of our readers will keep cows where they belong, even in the water.

My wife and I live on a 120-acre cattle ranch in Oklahoma. Spring rains followed by dry summers result in gullies that are a problem in keeping cattle confined to the pastures where they belong. Spring rains wash down the gullies, carrying tree branches and debris. Barbed wire fences across the gullies become choked with debris.

I link plastic 55-gallon barrels together like beads on a necklace and string them across the gullies. The barrels have two threaded bung holes on one end. I secure the caps by using a dab of silicone sealant on the threads.

Next, I drill a hole in the center of each end that is just large enough to fit a piece of ¾-inch PVC pipe. I buy 10-foot lengths of PVC pipe and cut them into three equal lengths of 3 feet, 4 inches.

I slide the segment of pipe through the holes in the barrel so that 2 inches protrude on each end. I secure a PVC coupler on each end of the pipe and add a bead of silicone around each hole where the pipe comes through.

I string the barrels end to end on a long piece of cable secured to a tree or anchored fence post. I string enough barrels to lie completely across the gap to be blocked and then I secure the other end to another tree or post on the far side.

I have used this system for three years. When the water rises, the barrels float and debris slides under. When it’s dry, the cows walk up to the blue barrels and raise their ears, but they don’t attempt to step over or nudge them out of the way.


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