How to Create Cattle Brands

By Linda Donahue

A brand, whether it's used for cattle or horses, is a symbol to identify the particular ranch and its owner. Branding offers some protection for an owner so he can keep track of his livestock. For brands to be most effective, they need to be registered with your state's brand inspection office. Unregistered brands only cause confusion. Because there are so many brands already on file, the clerk at the brand inspection office will help you in designing your brand.

Go to your state's brand registration office and ask to see the listing of already registered brands. This will give you some ideas, as well as show you what's no longer available. The brand registration officer will help you in the design process.

Choose letters, numbers or symbols to create your brand. Because there are so many registered brands, you'll most likely need to use at least three letters or numbers or combination. These letters and numbers should have some personal meaning to you. Often the letters are part of your name or initials or part of the ranch's name.

Pick letters and numbers which are open, if possible. Closed letters and number can blotch, making them harder to read. Open letters and numbers are those like U or 2. Closed letters and numbers are those like P and 9.

Arrange the letters, numbers or symbols in one of the order conventions used for reading a brand. Brands are read from left to right if placing the letters horizontally. Brands are read from top to bottom if placing the letters or numbers vertically. Brands are read from outside to inside when using letters or numbers encased in shapes. For instance, if the letter S is placed inside a circle, it is read as Circle S.

Place the letters or numbers on their side for a "lazy" indication, such as the Lazy Z, as an alternative. Letters and numbers that are reversed are called Reverse B or Crazy B. Letters may be connected to each other. If connected vertically, they are called hanging. There are many style variations your state's brand registration officer can help you with.