Why do we brand?

October 19, 2021

Why do we brand?

"Trust your neighbor but brand your cattle"

 

 

 

On the Red Angus bulls shoulder, you can see the freeze brand.

 

First let me say this, everything ranchers do is for a reason. Castration, artificially insemination, tattooing, freeze branding, etc. are done because they have their purpose. Branding is one of those things.

There are two types of branding - Hot Iron and Freeze Branding. At our operation we do both and only brand our replacement animals, meaning we only brand our bulls and cows - animals that will be kept in our herd for years or sold on our annual bull sale. Freeze Branding is when you use dry ice/liquid nitrogen to brand the cattle. This turns their hair white and we primarily use this to brand the cows with their id's.

We keep our cows for years, the oldest we currently have is 13 years old. It is common for them to lose an ear tag or have a tag fall out. We also like them to be freeze branded for sorting/calving as we can read their number from far away. Yes, their ears are tattooed but that requires them to be caught to read. Hot Iron Branding is when you use a hot iron to brand cattle. We brand our cattle with our brand registered within the state. This allows us to easily identify our cattle. The majority of Nebraska requires cattle to be branded, it is the law and a brand inspector has to inspect cattle before moving them across county lines.

What are the alternatives to branding cattle?

  • Metal clip tags
  • RFID (electronic tags)
  • Tattoo Microchips
  • Ear Tags

All of these alternatives serve their purpose but are all located within the ear. Why is this a problem? If your cattle become mixed with your neighbors, are lost, stolen, etc. you cannot identify them easily. A chute would be required to restrain them and to look at their ear, which is not possible in the situations listed above.

Branding requires a trained professional, especially hot iron branding. My husband is the only one on our operation that hot iron brands. Why? He has branded thousands of cattle at his work and knows what he is doing. There is an art form and he is a professional, we also work with our veterinarian.

If you have any questions about branding or any of the other identification methods listed above, let me know below!

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