Different Types of Brands in BC

BC Livestock is BC’s source for livestock sales and auctions. We are rancher owned and rancher operated and live, eat, sleep, and breathe livestock. If you’re new to ranching, you may not know there are a couple different types of brands available in British Columbia – hot brands and freeze brands – and there are benefits and disadvantages to both.

Hot Branding

Hot branding is a common method of livestock identification. It involves burning a brand into the hair follicles, resulting in permanent hair loss in that area. There are a couple different types of irons that can be used, namely steel irons and electric irons. Electric irons maintain a fairly consistent temperature, but with steel irons it’s important to ensure the iron is hot enough, but not too hot. A good indicator is the colour of the iron – a wood-ash gray is the preferable colour.

Freeze Branding

Freeze branding requires the cooling of the branding iron to a temperature of -78C-196C. In freeze branding, the animal is restrained while a small area of fur is shaved where the brand will be applied. Freeze branding kills the colour follicles in the hair causing it to turn white permanently. In the case of white animals, the iron is kept in place long enough to freeze the hair follicle so the hair never grows back, leaving a brand in its place.

Benefits & Disadvantages

• Freeze branding takes longer to be effective as you have to wait for the hair to grow back (white) in order to see the brand while hot branding leaves an immediate impression. In the long term, though, freeze brands can be read at greater distances than hot-iron brands.

• Freeze branding takes longer to prepare and apply. The iron has to be cooled carefully and applied for a significantly longer time than the hot iron.

• Freeze branding causes no permanent harm to the animal’s skin.

• Freeze branding requires more specialized equipment than hot-iron branding. It is often done by experienced freeze branders.

• While freeze branding takes longer to apply, it seems to cause less stress to the animals overall.

BC Livestock Producers Co-operative Association is a livestock co-operative that was incorporated in 1943. BC Livestock operates four stockyards, which are located in Kamloops, Williams Lake, Okanagan Falls and Vanderhoof.

BC Livestock holds live auctions weekly along with specialty bull, horse and onsite equipment auctions. We offer Video Sale Lots in all four of our locations across BC and electronic sales, known as TEAM, are held weekly in partnership with Calgary Stockyards. For more information on our auctions and more, check out our next auction on our Auctions page.

BC Livestock offers cattle financing through our proven Panorama Feeder Finance Program, and offers competitive rates and options to suit any size operation. We carry a full line of quality Livestock Handling Equipment and Animal Health Products. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you market your livestock and maximize your profits.

For more information on branding and brand availability, visit Ownership ID Inc., the administrator of BC’s brand registration program.

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