Freeze Branding

By Anthony Gallenti, owner of Farmer’s Mailbox. In Australia freeze branding is very popular with diary cattle and horses. The branding process includes the use of liquid nitrogen or dry ice and alcohol to cool a branding iron. The iron is then applied to alter the hair follicles of an animal to remove the pigmentation or to remove the hair altogether. The hair on the affected area will grow back white. On animals with white hair or no hair, the iron is left on the skin long enough so that the hair falls out and the area is balded or the skin depigmented. It is most commonly used as an identification mark for ownership. Over the years freeze branding has become a popular alternative to traditional hot branding. Freeze branding is generally considered less painful and traumatising to the animal than hot branding, where the animal's skin is scarred.