Freeze Branding

Growing up in a state where it was not used prominently, I have pretty limited experience with branding. We didn’t brand our stock in Iowa though we had the occasional cow on the place that did wear one. I remember most of them being freeze brands which turns the hair white.

Since I moved west, that’s changed. I’ve been in on a few brandings, and most of the critters walking around are sporting permanent ownership identification. A lot of the branding is done with hot irons.

Here’s a great fact sheet on freeze branding from Oklahoma State University.


  1. Good stuff!!! Thanks for sharing. Very useful information

  2. Just learned about your blog. I’m glad I found it too. You talk about some great stuff. I’m from NC and I don’t see much branding going on here. I’ve always wondered how it was done and if it hurt the horses/cows. I liked the article you posted..that helped explain a lot. I always thought it lasted a lifetime. I had no idea it only lasts a few years. With that being the case, does that mean you have to re-do it once the brand has worn off?

    • I’m originally from Iowa where we never branded either. Out here, it’s mostly hot-iron branding so I’m not as familiar with freeze branding. But yes, if the freeze brand disappeared, it’d need to be redone. Any time animals cross state lines (i.e. going from winter ground in Washington to summer pasture in Idaho), a brand inspector has to check brands before transit so they’re important. Thanks for stopping by, Ashley!

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