Expert tips when using Brandabull
Tips on using Brandabull for successful freeze branding.
Follow these tips for easy, no-hassle freeze branding every time.
- Fill digit-mould cavities completely with well-packed ice. Over-filling is preferable. Under-filling can cause failures.
- Apply immediately after filling (pre-preparing the animal is essential).
- Liberally use a wetting agent (methylated spirits or alcohol) direct from a sealed container and immediately prior to branding. Do not apply with a rag or brush from an open container. Open containers will absorb atmosphere moisture which will reduce the effectiveness of the brand. A small plastic bottle is included in the kit for the methylated spirits or alcohol.
- Pressure must be applied to the animal with the brand handle from the start to the end of the application time, but increasing towards the end to ensure constant contact of the reducing-thickness ice with the hide.
NOTE: If the dry-ice is light and fluffy and falls out of the mould, or if the gun does not shut-off completely or cleanly, there is very likely a partial block of the jet. This condition will produce unsatisfactory ice and consequent poor quality brands. Remove and reverse the nozzle jet as described below in ‘How to clear a blocked jet’ and in the manual. For further information on using Brandabull download the Brandabull manual here.
How long should you hold the brand on the animal?
If the brand digit is held on the animal too long a bald brand may result, and if held too little then the brand will not be clear or as visible as is desired.
Over-branded or bald brands can become difficult to read as the surrounding hair tends to grow over them reducing their readability. Clipping the area periodically should readily restore readability.
Typically branding times will vary from 20 seconds for young animals to 90 seconds for mature heavy-skinned animals.
The times detailed below are intended as a guide only as there are many variables that will affect the brand result.
- Calves 20 to 30 seconds
- Yearlings 30 to 60 seconds (typically 40 seconds)
- Slightly longer for white animals (60+ seconds)
- Mature cattle 60 to 90 seconds, as their skins are thicker
The dry ice is fluffy and falls out of the mould
If the dry ice produced is light and fluffy and sometimes falls out of the mould, or if the gun nozzle does not shut-off completely or cleanly, there is very likely a partial block of the jet or the CO2 cylinder is nearly empty. This will produce unsatisfactory ice and consequent poor-quality brands.
Make sure you have the right liquid withdrawal CO2 cylinder and that it is standing upright and not lying flat. Dry ice production is dependent on drawing liquid from the bottom of the cylinder.
The gun has stopped operating completely
Should the gun stop operating completely, either the cylinder is empty or the jet is blocked. Blockage can be caused by small pieces of debris in the cylinder being carried through the hose to the jet. See the next section on how to clear a blocked jet.
How to clear a blocked jet
- Turn the CO2 cylinder off.
- Unscrew the gun barrel. Be careful to vent the remaining gas in the hose in a safe manner before unscrewing the barrel completely.
- Unscrew the jet, reverse and reinsert. The jet is exactly the same at both ends so reversing it will blow out any debris.
- Reattach the barrel.
- Resuming operation should immediately clear any blockage.
DO NOT POKE ANYTHING METAL INTO THE JET as it may damage the aperture, affecting the performance of the gun. Occasionally a cylinder of CO2 can have accumulated debris at the bottom causing partial or complete blockages. If this happens we recommend contacting your gas supplier and having the cylinder replaced.
Why use a wetting agent like methylated spirits or alcohol?
Immediately prior to branding, liberally soak the area to be branded with methylated spirits or alcohol, using the small plastic bottle provided in the kit. This is to assist the transfer of the cold brand to the skin and to help remove any moisture and dirt, which may act a barrier to effective freezing of the hide.
Do not apply the wetting agent with a rag or brush from an open container. Open containers will absorb atmosphere moisture which will reduce the effectiveness of the brand on the animal.
Storing the Brandabull
When you stop branding for the day:
- Turn off the cylinder valve.
- Operate the gun trigger to drain the hose. Do not leave the hose pressurised for any extended length of time.
- It is also recommended that you rinse the brand digits in warm water with a little mild dish washing detergent. This will remove any dirt, hair or other contaminants. Allow the brand digits to dry thoroughly.
- Store in a dry, safe place until needed again.