What is Freeze Branding?
Freeze branding is the process of using a branding iron that has been super chilled with liquid nitrogen (-196º Celcius) which is then applied to the hide of the horse. The extreme cold destroys the cells in the horse's skin that produce pigmentation or colour. Therefore a freeze branded horse will have white hair grow back where the freeze branding iron was held on the skin. For white/grey horses the freeze brand is simply held on longer, which destroys the hair follicle and results in a hairless brand.
Whether you have one pony or you are a large stud, Louise is able to accommodate all your freeze branding needs. Our freeze brands have been hand made by Hummelstads from quality cast bronze, the best material for freeze brands, to ensure a clear result. Louise carries multiple sets of numerals and a full custom made Western Australian specific alphabet, which is able to be made into your specific brand (including lazy letters). We are a mobile service covering all areas of Western Australia. Louise is also licensed by the Western Australian Veterinary Board to administer sedation for the purpose of branding if required (directing vet Dr. Charlie Stewart).
Why Freeze Branding?
Freeze branding is a virtually pain free, humane method of permanently marking a horse for identification purposes. The brand is visible and able to be read from a distance making the horse a less likely target of thieves. Unlike fire branding there is no open wound, making grooming, rugging, training etc, immediately post branding no problem.
Western Australian Branding Regulations
Did you know that ALL horse owners in Western Australia must be registered and have a current PIC (Property Identification Code). You can look up available brands and register your own brand and PIC for a minimal fee on the Western Australian Department of Agriculture website.
Horses must be branded before six months of age or before being removed from the property, whichever occurs first.
Stock brands in Western Australia consist of two letters and a single digit number (0-9) in any order. The letter ' I ' is not used. The first letter in the combination may be a lazy letter where the letter is tipped 90 degrees to the left. A lazy letter ' O ' appears as a circle with a dot in the middle.
The Western Australian Brand Chart has been specifically designed to prevent alteration without detection.
Symbol brands are not issued for use in Western Australia, however horses may instead be branded with an approved breed society mark and many breed societies such as the Australian Studbook will allow this.
The Branding Process
The area to be branded is clipped to the skin then swabbed and soaked with 99% alcohol.
The chilled brand is then applied to the area and held in place for approximately 7 - 15 seconds.
When the chilled branding iron is removed the area will initally appear indented.
Within 5-10 minutes a swelled pattern will show.
The swelling will disappear in about 5 days.
Approximately one month after branding the top layer of skin sheds.
Around 2 months after branding white hair will start to grow through.
The brand will be completely visible and grown out at around 3 months post branding.