HOT BRANDING HORSES VERSUS COLD BRANDING
We all know what horses and cattle go through getting branded with an iron heated to a high temperature with an open flame. Yup, it hurts like hell and horses especially fight the pain. Many people incorrectly apply to much pressure while branding with a hot iron or sometimes not enough pressure. Or for to long or sometimes for not long enough. All these things result in a messy hard to read scarred brand or one that fades out.
Cold branding on the other hand is a fairly simple technique that causes a great deal less pain and results in an easier to read brand in the long run. In cold branding, (FREEZE BRANDING), the branding iron is fully chilled in a container of Liquid Nitrogen. You know it is ready to apply when the bubbles stop coming from the Liquid Nitrogen. It is a fussier process than hot branding because the area to be branded has to be clipped and given a liberal coat of Alcohol. Current literature suggests Rubbing Alcohol, but Methyl Hydrate is cheaper and appears to work just as well. Taking care to remove all the hair by clipping and using plenty of Alcohol or Methyl Hydrate are the two most important steps.
When the cold iron is applied to the skin, it sticks securely. In about a minute the iron warms up enough to lose its adhesion. At first it looks like the brand has failed but in six to eight weeks the results are clearly visible. A paper thin layer of skin where the brand touched will fall off and the hair follicles are destroyed. The hair grows back in white. If the original hair coat was white, then it grows back in darker so white animals can easily be done also.
Less pain to the animal and often a far easier to read brand.