14 FARMERS' BULLETIN 1341
worker, and possibly balky. A young mule that becomes accustomed
to moving a load every time it is called upon will develop into a
reliable work animal.
FEEDING AND CARE OF MULES
Too little thought and attention are usually given to the proper
methods of management and feeding of mules. Where the use of
mules as work stock prevails, the feeding is sometimes done in a
rather haphazard manner without regard to efficiency and economy.
The essentials of a good caretaker are judgment and common sense,
combined with a knowledge of feeds. Ordinarily the most practical
feeds to use are those which are grown on the farm or plantation
so far as they provide the essential nutrients for a balanced ration.4
Corn, oats, and barley are the most widely used grains, as there is
hardly a section of the United States where one or more of them
are not grown. These grains may be combined or taken singly and
supplemented with such feeds as wheat bran, linseed meal, or cottonseed
meal to help make a balanced ration.
With the concentrates there should be fed dry roughage of various
kinds such as Johnson grass, timothy, clover, alfalfa, soybean, cowpea,
and prairie hays. Some of these may be used alone, but others
should be fed in combination for best results. Tle best roughage to
feed depends principally upon the kind of grain used. Where oats
are the main concentrate the roughage may be largely carbonaceous
hays, such as Johnson grass, timothy, or prairie hay. If corn is
the principal grain used, however, a good mixed hay will generally
prove most satisfactory. It is rarely advisable to use a legume hay,
such as alfalfa, as the sole roughage although such a feed may make
up as much as two-thirds of the total roughage allowance when the
grain fed is highly carbonaceous. The principles that are used in the
correct feeding of horses may be applied to the feeding of mules.
As a general rule 1lo1 pounds of grain and 11/ pounds of good hay
daily per 100 pounds of live weight will be found to be about the
right quantity of feed to use for an animal at medium work. For
heavy work it will be necessary to increase the quantity of grain
to 11/4 or 11/3 pounds, but no more roughage will be needed. In fact
it is sometimes advisable to reduce the roughage allowance somewhat
below the /4-pound standard specified for medium work, when mules
are worked hard. The exact quantity of feed in all instances depends
upon the individual animal and must be determined by the feeder.
While there are numerous cases in which mllles are underfed, there
are many others in which the owner suffers financially because the
mules are fed more high-priced feeds than they really need, through
the use of large, improperly balanced rations. Overfeeding is most
likely to be done during the winter months when the mules are idle.
During this period, idle mules may be kept in good condition largely
on hay, straw, corn stover, and a small quantity of grain. Mules that
4A balanced ration is one which will supply the protein, carbohydrate, and
mineral elements in such proportion as to meet as nearly as possible the body
requirements of the animal for doing the work which it is to perform. Methods
of computing a balanced ration are fully explained in Farmers' Bulletin 1030,
Feeding Horses, which may be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents,
Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C., at 5 cents a copy.
Williams, J. O. (John Oscar), 1885- & Speelman, S. R. (Sanford Reed), 1894-. Mule production.. Washington, D.C.. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1784/. Accessed March 30, 2015.