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Freeze branding – everything you need to know

As this year draws to a close, we encourage farmers to book their freeze branding if they have not done so already. Freeze branding is suitable for dairy farms but has also become popular on suckler farms too.

Having an animal branded makes them easier to identify. Within a herd, farmers can single out animals at a glance. This is especially helpful to identify animals that show signs of illness or calving.

The farmer can view freeze branded animals accurately from a distance. This can improve overall production and efficiency on a farm as identifying individual animals can help maintain accurate records.

Ear tags can get lost or fade, and, in some cases, dirt can make tags unreadable, freeze branding can help when this happens.

Freeze branding


Freeze branding can also play a vital role in the milking parlour as it helps milk recording. Other advantages of freeze branding include:

  • Freeze brands do not fall off or wear off;
  • The only permanent identification available for cows;
  • Essential for stock identification;
  • Suitable for all animals but the younger the better;
  • With dairy herds increasing in size, it’s also harder to identify cattle in larger groups. In this case, freeze branding is also essential for identification.
How to ensure it is effective

For freeze branding to be effective, it must be done in a certain way. A professional is needed to carry out the procedure correctly.

During the process, a unique number is branded onto the animal’s hind, usually the last 4 digits of the animal’s tag number.

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Firstly, the freeze branding operator will shave the hair on the coat that will be branded. The number is then pressed onto the animal using branding irons. This kills the pigment in the hair follicle and the hair grows back white.

Timing also plays a vital role and varies with age, weight, and condition of the animal.

FRS Farm Relief

FRS Farm Relief currently offers a freeze branding service.  It is advised that two sets of hands are available to secure the cow being branded.

FRS can provide this extra help if required. FRS operators are following the current Covid-19 guidelines to safeguard the health and safety of customers and themselves.

For more information or to book Freeze Branding contact your local FRS office or visit here.

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