First, pick a brand design that is easy to read, can be reproduced in an iron and is something a cow would be comfortable wearing.
Next, check your brand design against the massive database of brand designs maintained by whoever’s job it is to do that. If you find someone using a brand exactly like yours, find that person because that person will be your soul-mate.
If you decide to “freeze brand” remember that it is a less stressful process than burning a living bovines flesh, although I’m surprised that anyone needed to say that.
If you are patient enough, you can brand a cow with a magnifying glass, a cloudless day and three unpleasant hours.
You might think burning a living animal is cruel, but, in nature, cows brand each other in those God-forsaken fraternities of theirs…
The benefit to using a hot branding iron on a steer is that you’ll know what he will smell like later when he is on your grill.
The hot iron should be applied to the cattle for approximately five seconds, or, as the cows call it, “a thousand eternities”…
Instead of the brand, you can also just notch the cow’s ear. It’s just as sadistic as branding with the added bonus of the steer looking like a cartoon that has been shot.
You can also tattoo cattle for identification; but, don’t use a skull because EVERYBODY wants a skull tattoo…
Also, tattooing an identifying mark on the ears of cattle make it easier for the consumer to determine if some crazy butcher slipped him an ear instead of a flank steak.
You can also brand a steer on its horn. Unfortunately, because it is painless the animal loses respect for you… which is EXACTLY how the planet of the apes started.
You can also just tag a steer’s ear… but that just makes it look as if he’s part of a clearance sale.