Why Branding Your Livestock is Essential
Branding your livestock is the only way to protect your stock and to prove that you own a lost or stolen animal. Hot iron or freeze brands are almost impossible to alter and are very visible. If you donít brand your stock, chances are good that you will lose your animals without your knowledge. Also, it will be harder to get your animal back once it becomes lost or stolen since you have no way of identifying it or proving that a certain lost animal is really yours.
States differ on the rules they impose on branding farm animals. Many state agencies record both freeze and hot iron brands as well as the location of the brand on animals. They generally do not allow registration of a particular brand if it has already been used by another farm animal owner within a certain area. Some states prohibit freeze brands on cattle. Therefore, checking your state regulations regarding stock branding is a must. You might be wondering why you are required to register your stock branding. For instance, if your horse is stolen or lost, you can alert your local brand authorities as well as stockyards and slaughterhouses and show your horseís brand information together with a photo so that they can view you horseís marking.
So how do you provide ample protection to your stock through branding? Here are the two important steps:
1. Select a high-quality brand.
The brand you will use should be unique but is simple and easily recognizable. Donít worry about choosing the right brand because the brand inspectorís office in your area will help you based on your preferences as well as the laws in your state. Make sure to register the brand you have chosen in the brand inspection office so that your stock gets protection in case of theft or loss.
2. Apply it properly.
Your state may require you to place the brand on a particular area of your animalís body. You may also be required to use a brand of a certain size so that it can be easily seen on your animals. The brand should be burned clearly and cleanly using freeze branding or hot iron. Donít fret about using large brand because it wonít affect the marketability of your stock. In fact, animals with brands of the right size receive high market value.
When using a hot iron, make sure that it is heated correctly. It should have the color of ashes. If you allow the hot iron to become red-hot, it may lead to burning of your animalís hair and poor-quality branding.
Avoid branding your animals if they are damp because it may result in scalding, blotching, or soreness. It may not leave any marking at all. Also, donít trust your branding iron to someone who has no experience using it, as it may cause injury to that person or to the animals that will be branded.
Remember, branding your livestock will leave a permanent mark on your animals, so be sure that it is done right and according to the rules set by your federal laws.
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