Branding Question

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bverellen

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Last year we branded some of our stock. We used hot iron brands, made out of steel, 1/4" wide. The cattle were a mixed bunch, some short hair and some with a heavier coat. The brand itself is two Turkey Tracks, approx. 4" tall.

After about one year, the hair on all the cattle has for the most part grown back, leaving very little evidence of a brand.

Is the steel we used too narrow, not left on long enough, not hot enough, something else?

We would like to get the problem pinned down before we do any more or invest in an electric brander.

Any help would be appreciated, including electric brander manufacturer that you are experienced and happy with.

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farmwriter

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Cooperative Extension has some good info on branding. We did our first freeze brands this year rather than using the electric brand as we have in the past. It's trial and error, but I prefer it to the hot iron.
Best wishes to you.
 

I luv herfrds

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The hair does grow back over the brand. I see this on our own cattle.
Only true way to tell if it was done right at this time, is shave the sight of the brand and look for it.

When we brand our cattle after the iron is first applied we look to make sure the brand is complete, no broken areas to blur it. The area is red and black. The iron does not need to be held on for a long time. Normally for us around 5 seconds or less.
The iron does have to be fairly hot, doesn't need to be red hot though. We check it by putting it on a wooden plank after it is heated. If it only smokes a little and doesn't leave a "solid" brand it is too cold and we just put it back in the fire and wait some more. If it does get red hot don't worry because once it is pulled from the fire it will start cooling down.
The hair will burn off with the hot brand, but an animal with a heavy coat can make the iron slip blurring the brand.
It just takes time and practice to get it right.

Now was this a home made iron or a bought iron?
 
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bverellen

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I luv herfrds":pu0saar4 said:
Now was this a home made iron or a bought iron?


I made them myself, I own a small welding company. They were made out of 1"x1/4" Mild Steel(A36), laid on edge, with a #3 rebar for a handle.

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bart.
 

dun

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Been a long timer since we branded, but if the cattle aren;t white you should be able to see a discoloration where you branded or the hair in that spot should be rough, If not you didn;t hold the iron on long enough, we alwasy went by the hide being copper colored under the iron.
 

marimus

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The brands should be heated "blue hot" which is that dull glow below red hot.

Dun is right in saying to look for the tan/copper color after application of the brand. If its not right, you need to hold the brand on longer. If it takes more than 3-5 seconds to get that color you need to heat the brand hotter.

You can read a better description (with pictures) as a downloadable PDF file here:
http://www.mla.com.au/TopicHierarch...to+best+practice+husbandry+in+beef+cattle.htm
 

novatech

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A 4" brand is pretty small. Would work on younger calves. The older they get the larger it should be. A 4" turkey track would put the segments of the brand pretty close together. We use a 5" at weaning age.
 

grubbie

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We also look for the rawhide color after the brand, as Dun said. Just get it down to the hide. The hair will grow back and make it hard to see. Not like a freeze brand, which kills the pigment and actually makes the brand white on a black cow. Here, where the winters are cold and the cows grow a longer coat, the brand is unrecognizable on many animals unless clippers are used. As far as your irons, 1/4 inch should be okay. I made mine out of 3/16 X 2 strap and 1/2 inch hot roll for handles. The iron just has to be hot enough to burn down to the hide, too hot is better than too cold in my opinion. If it is red hot, of course you won't hold it on as long. I like em good and hot, get it done quick, turn em loose.
 
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