How to freeze brand livestocks - the humane way. Updated 2023
Freeze branding can be a relatively painless and very effective form of permanent livestock identification.
Here are the general materials and methods for freeze branding livestock with a custom-made brass freeze branding iron.
- Liquid nitrogen or dry ice and alcohol
- Brass freeze branding iron with your custom design/logo
- Gloves, goggles, and protective clothing
- Livestock restraint equipment (e.g., chute or squeeze chute)
- Towels or paper towels
- Timer or stopwatch
- Water or antiseptic solution for cleaning the branding site
Prepare the branding iron: Your branding iron should be custom made from brass with the desired design or logo etched on the surface. You can also purchase a pre-made branding iron with your design or logo. Once you have your branding iron, you will need to chill it in liquid nitrogen or dry ice and alcohol for at least 10-15 minutes to reach the desired temperature.
Prepare the livestock: Choose a safe and secure location for the branding process, and ensure that the animal is properly restrained in a chute or squeeze chute. Use gloves and protective clothing when handling the animal.
Clean the branding site: The area where the brand will be applied should be shaved, clean, and dry. Use a towel or paper towel to clean the area with water or an antiseptic solution to remove any dirt, debris, or oils.
Apply the branding iron: Place the branding iron on the designated spot on the animal's skin and hold it firmly in place for a predetermined time (usually between 5-15 seconds, depending on the species and age of the animal). Use a timer or stopwatch to ensure that the iron is applied for the correct amount of time.
Remove the branding iron: After the required time has passed, carefully remove the branding iron from the skin and place it back in the liquid nitrogen or dry ice and alcohol to cool it down for the next application.
Observe the branding site: The branding site will appear white or light-colored immediately after the brand is applied, but will gradually darken over time. The hair in the branded area will eventually fall out, leaving a permanent white or light-colored brand on the animal's skin.
Provide aftercare: After the branding is complete, provide appropriate aftercare for the animal, including pain management, antibiotics, and monitoring for any signs of infection or complications.
In summary, freeze branding livestock with a custom-made brass branding iron involves chilling the iron, preparing the animal and the branding site, applying the iron to the skin for a predetermined time, observing the branding site, and providing aftercare. If you are in doubt of the process, it is important to seek the assistance of a licensed veterinarian or an experienced professional for this procedure.