For any farmer, the welfare of his livestock is very important. It might also help to spare the animals from the negative effects of traditional branding methods, such as trauma, skin damage, and infection, that come with them. Unfortunately, essential identification with branding is unavoidable due to livestock theft incidents that occur frequently.
Dry Ice 4 Farming offers an alternative and innovative new freeze branding method using cold irons, which are cooled with a mixture of isopropyl alcohol and dry ice.
The intense cold manipulates the colour pigmentation of the underlying hair follicles and results in a permanent and high-contrast branding with new colourless hair. If desired, hair can be permanently removed by the longer application of the cold iron, which is ideal for white animals or those with lighter coloured skins.
The freeze-branding method has a less harmful impact on the animal and has the following advantages:
- Permanent identification marks for cattle and horses
- Because it is a painless process, animals are less traumatised
- Does not damage the skin of the animal
- Identification marks do not rub off/fade over time
- Identification marks are clearly visible, even from a distance
- Livestock can be more easily identified and tracked
- Ideal for dairies and accurate record-keeping
Since animals are less adversely affected by cold temperatures, the effect of a cold branding iron is much less invasive and traumatic compared to a hot branding iron.
The ideal age for the freeze branding method is usually 6 months, but it can be used on animals as young as one month. As the mark grows with the animal, it will eventually be visible and permanent. It can also be applied with great success to pregnant and lactating cows, with trauma being significantly reduced and thus also the risk of aborting or milk production being adversely affected.
The branding time of the iron on the animal’s skin varies depending on the animal’s age and breed. Horses and one-month-old beef calves are exposed for 30 seconds, and cattle for 45 to 55 seconds, depending on the breed. The thicker the cow’s skin, the deeper the underlying hair follicle, and therefore provision must be made for a longer branding time. After the branding process, it takes 30 to 40 days for the new (colourless) hair to grow out.
The freeze-branding method is a one-time process that produces long-lasting results that are clearly visible, neat, easily recognisable, and permanent. It can be performed at any time of the year, as there is no open wound that can be infected by flies. The risk of livestock theft is thus also reduced because the freeze brand cannot be changed or manipulated.
The freeze branding process is safe and easy for the user to do themselves. The freeze-branding method is registered with the Registrar of the Department of Agriculture for animal identification. A complete package for the freeze-burn method and other identification equipment can be ordered from Dry Ice International, which will be conveniently delivered to any town nationwide with an available courier service.
Visit Dry Ice International’s website at dryice.co.za/4-farming for more information.