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Dry Ice 4 Farming

Freeze Branding - Frequently Asked Questions

We recommend 40 kg dry ice per 100 cattle and 40 L of methylated spirits, which can be drained and used again.

Time specified for freeze-branding is 45 seconds per head of cattle.

Freeze-branding is less painful compared to hot-iron branding.

Freeze-branding is considered as the method of choice by many registered stud breeders and commercial producers alike. Freeze-branding will leave permanent, highly visible brands which can be seen at much greater distances than ear tags or many hot-iron brands.

Freeze-branding takes between 5 to 10 minutes per head of cattle. You will see a clear in print of the brand on the skin. The branded area will swell producing a welt in an outline of the brand. In 2 to 3 weeks, the brand will form a scab and peel. The permanent branded area will be visible in 30 to 45 days after branding.

Costs depends on the total number of cattle which needs to be branded. For more information on costing, please contact Dry Ice International for a quotation.

Freeze-branding kills the pigment-producing cells in the hair follicle. As a result, the regrowth of white hair takes place where the branding iron was applied.

Freeze-branding is done with special copper or bronze branding iron. For more information or a step by step guide, download our Dry Ice 4 Farming brochure – visit our website www.dryice.co.za

Freeze-branding works best on black, dark brown or brown animals. However, lighter coloured cattle can also be freeze-branded, when the exposure time during branding is increased to 60 seconds.

Yes, satisfactory results on lighter coloured animals may be achieved by increasing the exposure time to 60 seconds, which will completely kill the hair follicle. This will result in a dark branding.

Freeze-branding irons: the irons are made of heavy copper or bronze with slightly rounded faces, which should be 8 to 10 cm in size and 2.5 cm thick.

For pricing on freeze-branding irons, please contact your nearest farming outlet or Co-op.

Methylated spirits is the most commonly used coolant. You will require additional coolant in order to wet the animals’ skin prior to branding.

The container should be resistant to extreme cold. A polystyrene or plastic container makes for a good branding cooler. Dry Ice International has the perfect 20 kg polystyrene container for freeze-branding.

Standard cattle clippers work well. If the cattle are particularly dirty, you may need to start with sheep heads on the clippers and reclip with cattle heads.

A stiff brush will remove the dirt and dander from the clipped area. A squeeze bottle is a handy way to squirt methylated spirits onto the clipped area.

Winter gloves insulate your hands when handling the cooled irons. The handles will become cold enough to cause frostbite. Safety goggles will protect your eyes from splash and fine shaven animal hair.

A good chute with side access along with a strong head gate is needed. A squeeze chute is strongly recommended to minimise animal movement during branding. Alternatively, you can use an immobiliser.

In general, younger cattle and breeds with thinner hides, i.e. Brahman breeds require less time for a good brand, while older animals and breeds with thicker hides, i.e. Hereford require longer exposure time.

For a full list, visit our website for more information.

  • Freeze-branding irons, preferable 2 x sets
  • Methylated spirits and spray bottle
  • Dry ice
  • Straight edge clippers, oil, curry comb, bristle brush and livestock blower
  • Large heavy-duty cooler with cover
  • Leather gloves
  • Extension cords
  • Kitchen timer or clock with second hand
  • Assign: determine the number of heads that will be freeze-branded – assign individual ID numbers to each animal to eliminate duplication.
  • Order: order sufficient dry ice and methylated spirits for the number of animals you have to brand in one day. Dry ice will last longer in cool and calm vs. warm and breezy climatic conditions, therefore order accordingly, depending on the time of year.
  • Where: as per government regulations.
  • When: select a low stress time to freeze-brand. Replacement heifers are an easy group to start with each year, prior to their first breeding season. Cows can be branded prior to pasture turn-out at calf processing, if required.

For a step by step procedure, visit our website and download the Freeze- Branding Manual – www.dryice.co.za

  • Minimal trauma induced and pain experienced by the animal
  • No blotching
  • Freeze-branding is ideal for dairy cows
  • Freeze-branding can be done on in-calf cows (pregnant cows)
  • No infection due to broken or damaged skin