The process of marking cows with a hot branding iron has been around since the time of Egyptian Pharaohs and pyramids and the process is still used widely today. The brand is the symbol of a ranch, but there is a lot more to the branding process than just marking cattle. Branding gives ranchers and ranch hands the chance to inspect the calf, administer vaccinations, and insure it is in good health.
From using electric branding irons to squeeze chutes, the process of branding calves has evolved as technology has improved, although there are still plenty of cattle operations throughout the West that are branding cattle similar to the way it’s been done for years. We visit a small ranch in New Mexico to see how one modern day ranching operation brands their cattle.
For more information on the branding iron, visit the American Cowboy Gallery.