Almost every state has laws and regulations regarding the branding of livestock. The laws usually define the type of branding that is allowed, what information has to be recorded, the method for registering a brand and the location on the animal where the brand must be placed. While brand registration and regulations are handled at the state government level in most states, some states (like Texas) handle brand registration on a county level.
Brands are registered to provide a system that eliminates the likelihood that two or more similar looking brands will exist in the same area. Brands may be duplicated across governmental entities. You would not want to have two “Lazy S” brands in the same county or even in the same state, in most cases: but, there should not be a problem having two “Lazy S” brands in different states. Each state that has Livestock Branding Laws has a Brand Book that they publish which shows the registered brands in that state.
Most states now have some of the Brand Law information on the internet. Some states even have extensive information and graphics showing the brands that are registered there.
Livestock Branding is done with several methods. Most of us think of the traditional Hot Iron Branding that we know from the old west. There are also other forms of branding including: freeze branding, chemical branding, tattooing, ear notching and the use of electronic tags. Each of these methods has their own positives and negatives. Many of the alternate methods are not universally accepted.
It is important to check the laws for livestock branding in your state to find out which methods are legal for you.