If you’re a farmer, or you simply own some livestock on your land, you’re going to want to keep them protected. You’ll want to protect them from walkers, from cars, from other livestock, from other animals in the surrounding land, etc. And the best way to do that is with a fence. A fence doesn’t have to be fancy to keep your livestock in check, but it does need to have a gate. Take a look at our tips to make your gate as secure as possible for your livestock.
Should hinge posts be cemented?
It’s common practice to pour cement around a hinge post to ensure that it stays in place, but it’s often not necessary. In fact, it can be detrimental to the integrity of your gate. If the hole for your hinge is irregular in shape, which is hard to avoid, the cement will assume the shape of the hole, and the irregular shape will encourage frost heave around the hinge, making for a less stable and secure gate overall. Plus, water is likely to get trapped between the cement and the post which will never dry out, greatly increasing your chance for wood rot.
So, ultimately, no we wouldn’t recommend you cement your hinge posts as it’s more likely to do harm than good.
Should you consider a stile gate?
Traditional wooden stiles aren’t going anywhere for one very important reason: they are very useful. Even if you don’t necessarily have the Right to Roam law where you are, you might not want to deter roaming foot traffic. A stile is a great way to allow people to move around and still keep your area enclosed. They’re typically wooden so they can blend in with the rest of your fencing, they’re easy to install and you don’t even have to worry about people leaving it open for your livestock to escape through. Instead, visitors climb over with a handy step and go about their day with your livestock still contained. You can find simple stiles at this website, plus a lot of other gate options.
Should you upgrade to a metal gate?
If you think you might need to upgrade your gate to something metal, there are plenty of options that will allow you to better control your livestock and the other creatures on your land. For example, kissing gates can come in both galvanised steel or treated softwood and are good for areas where you might have regular dog walkers that need access. This gate is a self-closing gate that allows people to pass through an area safely without letting any of your livestock out. It’s a particularly useful option if you have limited space.
Bridle gates are another option but are best if you have bridleway access or access to cyclists to ensure both rider and livestock are kept safe. They can also come in self-closing options which should allow easy access for you and your horse through the area, without having to get off to close the gate.
What latches should you go for?
There are a lot of different latches that you can go for to make sure that your gate is secure. They each have their pros and cons, but ultimately, they’ll all do the job. The sliding gate latch is the typical one we all know from bathroom doors. It’s a good option for a heavy-duty gate to keep everything where it should be without breaking.
The Irish Rail Gate latch isn’t as common outside of Ireland but it does the job and offers a simple installation to make life easier. It’s also said to be ideal for livestock since there’s very little chance of them being able to operate it.
And then there are the drop bolts, where the ground is the anchor to keeping your gate closed. The latch is dug into a small hole in the ground, keeping your gate closed. This comes in many variations but the simple truth is that if you get a lot of rain on a softer foundation, you’re going to get a less secure gate, perhaps allowing smaller creatures into your livestock enclosure.
An old favourite has always been the Throw Over Gate Loop. Slide the latch over and secure in place to make sure both sides of the gate are going nowhere.
Hopefully, with these tips you can choose and install the right gate for you and your livestock to live safely. A lot of gates are actually very simple to install so with a bit of know-how and a few useful tips you can make sure that your livestock and anyone roaming around your land are both kept safe.