Ranch brands are a way of identifying which breeder bred a particular animal. A ranch brand usually has two to four letters or numbers or a combination of both. The brands are assigned by either Empress Chinchilla Breeders’ Cooperative (ECBC) or the Mutation Chinchilla Breeders’ Association (MCBA).
These two organizations are similar to the American Kennel Club for dogs. ECBC and MCBA hold shows, share information on breeding and caring for chinchillas, and promote research regarding this wonderful little animal.
When a ranch or breeder registers with one of the organizations, they are given their own unique brand. These brands are recognized by both MCBA and ECBC regardless of which organization the brand originates from. Brands are registered once, are permanent and never reused for new members. This is to avoid confusion when reading a multi-generation pedigree. Both organizations work together to prevent duplicate ranch brands.
Ranch brands appear on pedigrees and ear tags of the animals. It is used in the beginning of the animal’s number to identify who bred it. On pedigrees, the numbers tell the reader at a glance what lines the animal is descended from.
Special note: All MCBA brands begin with an M to designate them from those of ECBC. This, however, does not mean that all brands beginning with an M are originally from MCBA.