Marking manual for hot iron branding, freeze branding and tattooing
Marking with a hot iron
- Use a separate iron for each character of the mark. It is easier, but not compulsory.
- Get everything ready before you start marking. Make sure that the sequence of the registered mark is correct according to the certificate of registration. This can be tested on a piece of wood.
- Get someone to help you. The helper must bring the animal closer and hold it firmly. It will be easier if you have more than one helper.
- Heat the iron well. When the iron becomes an ash-grey colour, it is a sign that it is hot enough. You may test the iron on a piece of wood to see if it is hot enough.
- Immobilise the animals with an immobiliser or knee-halter so that they do not kick you. The immobilisation of the voluntary muscles prevents the animal from moving.
- Take the fi rst iron and put it against the animal’s skin for three counts. Do not press. Count 1, 2, 3 slowly. Take off the iron. Take the second iron and do the same with the third. The mark is now complete. Clean each iron after use with a steel brush to get rid of the burnt skin and hair.
- Use an ice apparatus to cool down the wound or spray cold water onto the animal’s skin to cool it down.
- You can also apply wound oil to the wound. Do not wipe it with a cloth and never rub manure on the wound.
Marking with a freeze branding iron
Equipment needed for freeze branding:
- coolant – dry ice in ethyl, methyl or isopropyl alcohol and liquid nitrogen
- isolated container for the coolant
- set of copper or high-quality bronze alloy branding irons
- set of clippers
- 95% ethyl or methyl alcohol
- Get everything ready before you start branding.
- Get someone to help you. The helper must bring the animal closer and hold it firmly. If you have a crushing pen, the branding process will be easier.
- Immobilise the animals with an immobiliser or knee-halter so that they do not kick you.
- Shave off the hair on the spot to be branded.
- Freeze the iron by putting it in the liquid nitrogen or in spirits that has been chilled to –40 °C by means of dry ice.
- When the irons stop giving off bubbles, they are cold enough to brand letters onto the skin. Shake off the nitrogen or spirits, otherwise the flow-off will also leave a mark on the skin.
- Press hard for the following exposure times:
- animals of six to eight months: 20 to 25 seconds
- animals of nine to 18 months: 25 to 30 seconds
- animals over 18 months: 30 to 35 seconds
Marking by means of tattooing
A third method of identification is the tattooing of animals by means of tattoo pliers and ink.
- Get everything ready before you start tattooing.
- Get someone to help you. The helper must bring the animal closer and hold it firmly.
- Put the characters in the right order and position in the tattoo pliers – according to the certificate of registration.
- Clean the ears before the ink is applied – dirt and oil in the ears will prevent the ink from filling the tattoo holes made by the tattoo pliers. Press the tattoo pliers until holes appear on the skin.
- Rub the ink into the holes. The tattooing process is now complete.
Source: Infopak: Identifi cation of animals in terms of the Animal Identification Act (Act 6 of 2002), Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, September 2010.