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Freeze branding questions

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NN Ranch

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I am fixing to order my own freeze branding irons and am looking for input on what size to get. We have always borrowed them and I like the 4" ones better than the 3" as far as reading the brands. So if a little is good a lot must be better, right? Should I go with 5" irons? Will there be room on a yearlings hip for three 5" numbers? I know there is room for 4" numbers, would like to hear from someone who has 5".

Second question. I see you can get 3/8" face or 9/16 face, I don't really know what the ones we have borrowed were. Any input on face width?

Third question. We have always used liquid nitrogen with mixed results. I clip the hair short, clean it and soak with alcohol before putting the irons on. Have experimented with the time, from 20 seconds up to 35 seconds. Best years we still get about 25-30% unreadable. Has anyone tried both dry ice and nitrogen?(not at the same time) Is one more consistent than the other? I like that the nitrogen is faster, but I am wondering if the lower temp of the dry ice would be more forgiving?

Thanks
 

cure

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We use five inch brands that are 5/8 wide. We brand our bulls as yearlings with two numbers on the hip and have room for at least one more if not two. As for branding what I have found to work best for us is clip wash with alcohol and hold the brand on the animal for one minute. All we have ever used in nitrogen so I couldnt tell you which is better. I don't know if what we do is right or wrong but it is working for us :roll:
 

convicted felon

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We use 4x9/16 numbers. Methanol works best for us, dry ice and methanol in the cooler. Clip,brush,wash with methanol,then hold on for a minute. 55 seconds for young calves, 60 seconds for yearlings 110 old cattle and reds. The neighbors would get free nitogen somewhere, but now their back using dry ice.
 

Ho55

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3 inch is plenty big to freeze brand yearlings. That's what I use and they grow into a big brand as the cow matures. Also the 3 inch is a lot easier to apply even pressure to the brand sight. I've tried every size but if your branding yearlings use a 3 inch brand.
 

NN Ranch

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Thanks for the replies everyone.

cure, Just to make sure I understand, do you brand up high on the hip behind the hip bone, or lower on the side under the hip bone? (sorry I don't have any pictures, that's the best I can describe it, do you have a pic?) Its interesting that you hold it for 60 sec. I was always told that anything over 30-35 was too long and would burn the skin and not turn out. What percent of yours work vs unreadable?

felon, Have you used nitrogen and found that dry ice works better, or that's what you have always used? Which way worked best for your neighbors?

Ho55, I have used 3" and 4" and like the 4" much better. I think the bigger the better as long as there is room on the animal which is why I thought 5", although I see what you mean about even pressure with a bigger iron.

Thanks again.
 

3 M L & C

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The people I know that use liquid n hold it on black cattle for 12-14 seconds. I think different thickness of the iron would also impact the ability of it to hold the temp. So thickness might affect it also.
 

Big Swede

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For years we used liquid nitrogen and was never really impressed with the results. The faint ones could be read if they were clipped but all could be read in the summer when they shed off. We always tried to hold them on for 16 to 18 seconds.

Last year I decided to use dry ice for several reasons. Getting nitrogen was a 150 mile round trip, it was getting expensive, plus the last year my tank went bad and we lost most of it in a couple days. On top of all that the job always seemed to be so hectic and hurried because one tank full was never quite enough to get done.

The results with dry ice were great. Out of 115 heifers we did there might only be a couple numbers we can't read. The dry ice is free and plentiful and close and we can now take our time on the job taking two or three days if necessary. Much more relaxed now. Personally I think 4 inch numbers are plenty big and we do our heifers when they are two year olds.
 

cure

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Up high behind the hip bone. I would say that 95% turn out the only time we have trouble reading them is in the winter when they are all haired up other than that you can read them pretty clear
 

convicted felon

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We used both, but dry ice has better results for us. Little joe, I think their brass irons. lhbrandingirons.com
 

WVGenetics

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Brass alloy irons hold there temperature better than aluminum which allows for a better brand. As some others have said, dry ice and alcohol are more forgiving than nitrogen because of the large temperature difference. Wider faced brands are preferred for us and the size of the brand can vary depending on the age you are branding. Younger animals can take a smaller brand as it grows with them. We also use denatured alcohol to brand with as it is easy to buy at a local paint or hardware store.
 

lefty

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I use liquid nitrogen & 3.5 inch irons , 26 seconds makes the best brand for me , up to 30 if the wind is blowing hard . my ranch brand is made of sandcast aluminum , I would say the failure rate on the aluminum brand is far less that the brass #s .............. we still get 1 out of about 30 head that will not leave a mark ???
As you brand dirt & dandruff can build up on the irons & cause poor contact keep them clean . & it takes 3 minutes to recool an iron completely .
twice we branded in june never got 1 brand out of that . We try to brand first week in march & this seems to make the best brands for me .
 

Denny

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I branded with dry ice and alcohol on a 80 degree day with 25 mile per hour winds and 95% of those turned out the only ones that did'nt were 4 on some heifers I'd bought the day before that were fatter than they should be. I've also heard that some guys spray their sale cattle down with WD40 to make them shine better so maybe that was the problem with those 4 either way it did'nt matter they never got past their 3rd calf here.
 

NN Ranch

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Swede, how long do you hold the irons on with the dry ice method?

WVGenetics, same question, how long do you hold the irons on?

Dennis, what size are your irons? Where do you get dry ice?

side note, Valley Vet has L&H irons cheaper than L&H sells them for.

Thanks everyone.
 

Denny

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Dennis :wink: smarta$$ Get the Dry ice at Moreys 45 seconds I think they are 3" x 1/2".

The angus journal had done an article on freeze branding probaly 12 years ago TC Ranch was who they interviewed and they did the dry ice method and they used I think 6" irons on the ribs and if you have ever seen their cattle those brands stand out. I saved the article for years in my clipper case but it has since dissappeared.
 

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