Freeze branding questions - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 04-17-2013, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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Freeze branding questions

Working on my brand, making a hot brand for saddles and such. But would prefer to freeze brand the horses. Does anyone on here personally do it themselves?
I'd like to do it myself. Making the branding iron isn't an issue. Technique and such is my concerns. Also I have grey horses, is freeze branding going to show?
Well fire away with any pointers and such.
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post #2 of 22 Old 04-17-2013, 09:50 PM
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A freeze brand on grey horses won't show up well at all, only really if the horse is a steel grey but obviously the horse will eventually white out......I like the appearance of a freeze brand rather than a hot brand

Sorry that's all I have!
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post #3 of 22 Old 04-17-2013, 09:55 PM
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A freeze brand iron, I could way off base, I think is made out of a special material?
Hot/Fire brands can be made pretty easy. Hot branding blotches easier than freeze so the brand should be clean, for example, letters like "K" and "B" can blotch because of the concentration of heat in one area. I have never freeze branded but done a pile of hot brands on cattle. Steady, rocking pressure. The time is determined by how hot the iron is, when the smoke changes color you should be done.Freeze brands do show up on gray horses, should not be a concern.
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post #4 of 22 Old 04-17-2013, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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From what I gather freeze branding irons are made of brass/bronze. Which can Easily made in a mold. The brand is very simple so it will be very clear. I wish I had a picture of it, but its at my shop. I haven't sent it down state yet as I want my hot iron perfect before I submit it. Then I can use the hot iron to make the mold. Thanks for the input so far.
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post #5 of 22 Old 04-17-2013, 10:06 PM
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Research has been done on the effects of both types of branding on cattle by the levels of cortisol in the system. After reading the report I wouldn't do either one. Part of the high level may be due to the act of being constrained which goes completely against a flight animal. It was established that the pain lasts approx. an hour. Why and where would you hot brand your saddle? I use the sharpened blade of a screwdriver and tap my initials into the tree or on the underside of the fender as I don't want to punch into a rawhide wrapped tree.



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post #6 of 22 Old 04-17-2013, 10:07 PM
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Thankfully we don't have to have brands here (it's uncommon to see one) so I wouldn't have a clue. The only two horses I know that have brands are both freeze branded. One was from a Universities herd and the other brought in from another state.

A bit more material and work involved, but I would think you could do it.

They're always going to be bigger and stronger so you better always be smarter. (One of my grandfather's many pearls of wisdom)
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post #7 of 22 Old 04-17-2013, 10:08 PM
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Okay, now I learned something!
I knew if you ordered them it takes a few weeks to get them and I have seen a couple but didn't know exactly what they were made from.

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post #8 of 22 Old 04-17-2013, 10:17 PM
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Research has been done on the effects of both types of branding on cattle by the levels of cortisol in the system. After reading the report I wouldn't do either one. Part of the high level may be due to the act of being constrained which goes completely against a flight animal. It was established that the pain lasts approx. an hour. Why and where would you hot brand your saddle? I use the sharpened blade of a screwdriver and tap my initials into the tree or on the underside of the fender as I don't want to punch into a rawhide wrapped tree.

Why wouldn't you? (saddles, cattle or horses) It's about identification. Frankly I hate ear tags on cattle. The hair lays over the top of them so they are hard to read and they rip out. A good brand you can read from a ways off and when your cattle get in with the neighbors they can easily tell who to call. I realize that branding is a regional thing, but I think it is well worth it given the investment in raising livestock. Sometimes, yes, they get stressed and can get sick after a branding(which in our area includes vaccinations and BVD testing) but you run that risk anytime when handling livestock. you handle them the best way you can. Weaning them is harder on them than branding and vaccinating.

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post #9 of 22 Old 04-17-2013, 10:28 PM
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I know freeze branding does show up on most gray horses as well as any other brand. I have seen some difficult to read freeze brands and some darn near impossible to read hot brands. The issue is you can have hard to read brands due to horses moving suddenly. Its not a pain reaction so much as a cold reaction which I guess some react to, or so they say. I am not sure I buy the less pain theory because I have touched dry ice and yeah that stung. I know they use freeze branding or fire branding (I can't remember which) on seals. I think they selected freeze brands because they were easier to read from a distance and they found lower cortisol levels in the seals after freeze branding compared to fire branding. I am not 100 percent sure on that though and its neither hear nor there unless you intend to saddle seals.

We have our horses done by the registry guy for USTA so I am not much help with respect to temperature, construction and length of application. I do know the area is shaved and if there is difficulty reading the brand you can sometimes get a clearer image by clipping it. I think there is a risk of not having a brand cold enough and a risk of the brand being too cold. Either way, its not something I would suggest a novice do (not you but maybe some lurker) as you are causing tissue damage and that means all the risks associated with it.
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post #10 of 22 Old 04-17-2013, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
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Saddles are usually done on the skirt or fender. My main reason to want to brand is theft and if a horse gets loose. The two horses I'm currently concerned about are grade. So how do I prove its mine? A brand. Same as a saddle. A friend had a saddle stolen out of the back of his truck not long ago. In general it doesn't happen often, but when it does....
I have read the time/temp recomendation online. I have an inferred thermometer.
That's why I'm here askin for tips, hints, etc... From folks who may have hands on experience. And so far I'm glad I asked
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