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FREEZE BRANDING

At Jauer dependable Genetics we identify our cattle with a freeze branded number.  When done correctly, the white numbers show up extremely well on the black cattle.  Our numbering system starts with the first number equaling the year the animal was born followed by one to three numbers in order of the sire groups.   We also now put a three letter "JDG" logo on the right side of the animal.

1021.jpg (274010 bytes) Freeze branding is a humane method of permanent identification.  It is painless for the animal and makes identification easy for later sorting and record keeping.  Many people ask us what method we use for making quality freeze brands.   There are several different methods available, but we prefer the dry ice and alcohol method.  Branding irons also come in different sizes and materials.  We use 3/8" brass irons in our operation.  See below for detailed instructions on making good quality freeze brands. 

Materials list:

  • squeeze chute w/safety chain

  • cooler or insulated box

  • methyl alcohol

  • dry ice

  • branding irons (at least two sets of each number)

  • clippers with sharp blades

  • clock or stopwatch

Instructions:

chute.jpg (46085 bytes) Be sure you have a good quality squeeze chute.  The cattle will need to be immobilized for several minutes in order to get good iron to skin contact.
cooler.jpg (39724 bytes) Fill a cooler or insulated box with several inches of dry ice pellets. Next, pour methyl alcohol on top of dry ice deep enough to insure irons will be completely covered.  (Note: Ethyl alcohol will not work, it turns the mixture into slush.)   Keep in mind, this mixture will evaporate quickly so you will need to continually refill the dry ice and alcohol.  We use over 50 gallons of dry ice and over 20 gallons of alcohol in a full day of branding.  We do the freeze branding in the coldest part of the winter to minimize the amount of evaporation.  Finally, put the irons into the mixture long enough to cool them down to the temperature of the dry ice mixture. 
squeeze.jpg (12399 bytes) chain.jpg (12835 bytes) Run the animal to be branded into the chute and squeeze him down tight.   Be sure to secure a safety chain if you are not using a hydraulic chute because you will have your head near the sides of the chute and if it were to slip it could cause serious injury.  If the animal is dirty, you may need to brush or use a blower to remove excess dirt or dust.
tag.jpg (12862 bytes) list.jpg (12571 bytes) Identify the animal from and ear tag or tattoo.  Check your list to determine the correct freeze brand.  At this time, we usually pour the cattle for parasites and weigh the cattle for our records.
clip.jpg (11394 bytes) brush.jpg (11538 bytes) Clip a square large enough to put your freeze brand.  Next, brush the clipped area with a liberal amount of methyl alcohol.  (Do not use water as it will freeze when contacted with the cold branding irons.)  Short - wet hair is essential for good iron to skin contact.
brand1.jpg (34678 bytes) Place the iron on the spot where you want the freeze brand.   (Remember, once you start the freeze brand you cannot change the position.)   Leave space for additional numbers/letters, and be sure the brand is straight.   Use steady, firm pressure for 1 minute.  If the animal moves and your iron slips, simply position the iron back in the same spot and continue holding in place for the remainder of the minute.
brand2.jpg (39098 bytes) brand3.jpg (26948 bytes)
frozen.jpg (11590 bytes) next.jpg (11923 bytes) It is best to have two sets of numbers in case you need to repeat a number on the brand.  Otherwise it is necessary to cool the iron down if it was just used.   The branded area will be frozen for several minutes but will quickly disappear.   Loosen the squeeze chute and let the animal go.  You are now ready to start all over again on the next animal.
blister.jpg (35508 bytes) The freeze brand will begin to blister and the hair and skin will fall off the branded area in a few weeks.  The brand will then grow in with white hair in about a month or so.
889.jpg (32282 bytes) 8307.jpg (54932 bytes)
Please check back later.  I am putting together a video and will post here as soon as possible.
 

 

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