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Indiana Livestock Brands

The Indiana State Board of Animal Health registers livestock brands in Indiana.

A person owning livestock within Indiana may adopt a brand for his or her exclusive use in Indiana. IC 15-5-14-2.

Brands are registered by submitting a completed application for Livestock Brand Registration to the Board of Animal Health.

Indiana Livestock Brand Application  

Livestock brands must meet the Board's design requirements (345 IAC 7-8-4) to be registered.

The Livestock Brand law (IC 15-2.1-14) and the livestock brand rule (345 IAC 7-8) governs ownership, transfer, and use of a brand.

Livestock Brand Instructions

  1. There are no fees for livestock brand registrations and renewals.


  1. Brands must be renewed every five years. If a brand is to be renewed, fill out the top one-half of the Application for Livestock Brand Registration form, sign the form, and return it to the Office of the State Veterinarian.

New Brands

  1. Do not order a branding iron until the brand is approved by the Indiana State Veterinarian and a Brand Certificate has been issued.

  2. Make a small sketch of your first choice brand on the appropriate livestock diagram and the exact size of the brand on the sketch grid on the second page of the form. (The squares on the sketch grid are 1-inch.) Brands must comply with state guidelines for brands which are printed in "Information on Brands" below. Write the name of your brand in the space provided.

  3. Sketch your second choice brand in the appropriate space on the front of the form. Give the second choice to avoid a delay in the issuance of a certificate. A particular brand may be registered to only one person, firm, or corporation in Indiana. Duplicate brands will not be registered. Write the name of your second choice in the space provided.

  4. Indicate location of the brand on the livestock diagram as shoulder, ribs (rather than side), and hip. The thigh is included in the "hip" location.

Information on Brands

  1. Restrictions and guidelines for creating new brands (345 IAC 7-8-4).

    1. Except for disease control purpose, no person within the state of Indiana may use any brand for identifying livestock unless that brand has been recorded in the Office of the State Veterinarian.

    2. In order to avoid confusion, according to the style of brand chosen, the State Veterinarian requires that a brand be read as follows:

      1. Left to right.

      2. Top to bottom.

      3. Outside to inside.

    3. All stacked and/or connected brands will be read from top to bottom whether or not the bottom letter may extend to the left.

    4. A brand will be filed in the sequence as follows:

      1. A to Z.

      2. 1 to 9.

      3. Symbols and characters as follows:

        1. Double letters.

        2. Letters with numbers.

        3. Letters with characters (to the right or below).

    5. A single letter brand shall not be recorded.

    6. No lazy open A will be recorded; will be considered V.

    7. The letter G will only be recorded in the reverse position for example.

    8. The letter C will never be recorded in the reverse position.

    9. The letter W will not be recorded in the lazy position; will be considered as the letter M.

    10. The letter I will only be recorded with another letter.

    11. A lowercase letter for example, a, c, t or d, will not be recorded.

    12. A circle or a zero will be recorded as the letter O.

    13. The letter Q will not be recorded.

    14. A half diamond must always have the points (ends) toward the brand, for example.

    15. A quarter circle must always be recorded with the points away from the brand, for example, , and is never connected with the letter.

    16. A brand consisting of arabic numbers only may be used for individual livestock identification (in-herd) if it is located at least ten (10) inches away from any recorded livestock brand. The arabic number brand will not be recorded.

    17. When a recorded brand is applied to livestock which may have been branded by a previous owner, the new brand must be applied so as not to overlap, obliterate, disfigure or mutilate the previous brand.

    18. A brand shall be placed in one (1) specific location upon an animal. The appropriate location shall be designed on the brand recordation application.

    19. A horse may be branded on the shoulder regardless of the specific location designation for other livestock. The brand shall not be recorded on the ribs of the horse.

    20. All cattle brands must be a minimum of three (3) inches in height and all other brands must be a minimum of two (2) inches in height.

  2. Precaution should be taken to avoid all brands that blotch easily such as a circle, diamond or other enclosed brand.

  3. Brand plainly and carefully for your protection.

Cancellation or Abandonment

Failure to renew a brand on or before the time specified results in forfeiture of the brand. The owner may make application for reinstatement of a forfeited brand within five years.

Transfer of Brands

Transfer of brands requires the filing of a legally executed sale, assignment, transfer, devise or record of descent as personal property of the brand together with the Brand Registration Certificate.

Transfer of Branded Livestock

Indiana Code 15-5-14-12 (a). All persons selling livestock branded with their brand recorded in a current state brand book or supplement thereto shall execute to the purchaser a written bill of sale bearing the signature and residence of the seller, the name and address of the purchaser, the total number of livestock sold, a description of each animal sold as to sex and kind, and all registered brands. A copy of the bill of sale shall be given to each hauler of the livestock, other than railroads, and must accompany the shipment of livestock while in transit. The bill of sale or a copy shall be shown by the processor on demand to any law enforcement or peace officer. The bill of sale is prima facie evidence of the conveyance of title of the livestock described by the bill of sale.

Reporting Livestock Theft

Theft of livestock should be reported to local law enforcement officials immediately. Livestock theft should also be reported to the Office of the State Veterinarian Enforcement Division.