Sunday, January 23, 2011

Freeze Branding Wrap Up

Dr. Cliff Lamb UF IFAS
Well the freeze branding clinic is over and it turned out really well. This event was a joint endeavor of the Northwest Florida Cattleman's, Escambia County Extension and UF IFAS.  Dr. Cliff Lamb with the UF IFAS Beef Unit in Marianna put on great hands on program.  When I say hands on I mean it he had volunteers doing the prep work as well as the actual branding.  Dr. Lamb even used volunteers to pore the liquid nitrogen into the cooler, and when the time came to demonstrate the dry ice method he also utilized volunteers.  I am a believer in hands on telling someone how to do something and actually holding the brand in your hand is just not the same.  So I loved the way this demonstration was presented, as well as the way Dr. Lamb provided instruction during each phase of the process.

Necessary Equipment
  1. A freeze brand set of number brands or single brand as needed.
  2. Good head gate and squeeze chute is essential to ensure that the animal is restrained while applying the brand
  3. Animal hair clippers with sheep head and flathead blades.
  4. A stiff rice root brush and towel for cleaning the brand area.
  5. Alcohol (99%) in a mister bottle.
  6. Dry ice and alcohol (99% not 70%) for cooling the irons OR liquid nitrogen.
  7. Container large enough to set all the brands on the bottom at one time for cooling.
  8. A large clock with second hand to be used for timing of brand application. 
Freeze Brand Set

Freeze Branding Procedure
  1. If using dry ice - break up enough dry ice to cover the bottom of the container(s) with at least two inches of ice.  Pour enough alcohol over the ice to cover the ice and the brands placed down in the ice.  Add more ice and alcohol as needed during the day.  As soon as one is done using a brand place it back in the ice and do not use the brand again until bubbling stops. 
  2. Restrain the animal in the chute by the neck and tighten the squeeze chute on the body to prevent excessive movement.
  3. Clip hair as short as possible in the area to be branded.  Clean the area with a brush and alcohol.
  4. Just before placing the brand on the animal saturate the brand site with alcohol from the mister to provide liquid contact between the iron and the hide.  This step is critical to obtaining a good brand because alcohol will evaporate quickly.
  5. Apply the brand to the hide for 60 seconds if using dry ice and for 30 seconds if using liquid nitrogen.  Every 10 seconds spray the brand with alcohol from the mister.
    Clip the hair

    First brand was utilizing liquid nitrogen and applying for 30 seconds

    first brand of the day thanks volunteers!

    Good Head and Squeeze Chute is essential!

    The second heifer of the day we used the dry ice method

    The tattoo number utilizing the dry ice method

    Things to Watch for
    1. Animals will react less to the super cooled iron as opposed to a hot one, but they will still try to jump, usually about ten seconds into branding.  If the brand is knocked off its location during branding, just reapply and add an extra 5 seconds plus the time lost.
    2. To determine whether the brand is done properly if the hide area is frozen stiff you can tap the hide with your fingernail.  It should feel like taping on an ice cube.  It will take three to four weeks for the brand to show up nicely.
    3. Alcohol will migrate Thur a Styrofoam cooler, but not a plastic one, so plastic works best, however Styrofoam coolers do work, just do not leave alcohol in them over night.

    I plan to take pictures of the two heifers and post them as a follow up to show the difference if any of the two techniques.  Thanks again to Dr. Lamb, the Escambia County Extension and the Northwest Florida Cattleman's Association for allowing us the opportunity to host this event.  

    One Week & One Day
    Well my intentions were to take photo's of the two heifers to see how the brands are looking, well I am one day late but I really did have good intentions.



Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Drug Problems

I was cleaning up (one of the New Year's resolutions) my paperwork and ran across something on Drug problems. I had the same type of drug problem when I was growing up, and now I wish more of today's children had the same.

Happy New Year!