Rarer but still practiced is Cold branding. This method is similar to strike branding, except for the fact that, rather than heat, the tool used is subjected to extreme cold (often employed for this purpose is liquid nitrogen). This process causes the hair to grow back white and rarely results in the appearance of keloids (a fiberous growth resulting from skin damage).
A very small number of people have experimented with cold branding using liquid nitrogen. “Freeze branding” is extremely rare, if not largely unheard of, among body modification enthusiasts, but many ranchers regard it as the best way to brand their animals as it does only minimal damage. The animals are easy to identify, as any hair that grows from the brand grows in white, and this effect is permanent.
The actual procedure is surprisingly similar to strike branding. Instead of immersing the (often copper) iron into the heat of a propane torch, the iron is bathed in a solution of liquid nitrogen (or any number of other cooling agents—another common solution is a 5% dry ice, 95% pure alcohol solution). The iron is then pressed to the flesh. The amount of time is determined by the thickness of the skin; the thicker, the longer. For horses and cows, this usually means between thirty seconds and a minute—for humans it should be far less.
If a good brand has been achieved, an indent in the shape of the brand is left; within five to fifteen minutes it becomes level and then swells up. When hair grows back, it should be white. If the brand is left on longer, the hair won’t grow back at all (but the amount of scarring should be minimal). Many ranchers prefer freeze branding because of the LACK of any keloiding (and because it’s less traumatic to the animal).
Freeze branding takes a lot longer to do than fire branding, and as such is not economically viable to the larger ranchers who need to process staggering numbers of animals. In addition, freeze branding takes a few days to become evident, whereas fire branding is immediate.
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