Mule production. Page: 15
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MULE PRODUCTION 15
are worked hard and are receiving heavy rations should have their
grain feed allowance diminished approximately one-half when temporarily
idle. Idle mules thrive better if they are not confined in
stables but are kept in the open, preferably on pasture.
Digestive disorders are more prevalent among work stock during
the spring and summer months than at any other time. This is because
overheated animals are improperly fed and watered. If the mule
appears to be excessively warm when brought in from work, it should
be permitted to cool off before being watered or fed. Attention to
such details will prevent many cases of colic. Mules sometimes suffer
in hot weather from heat because they are allowed to eat too much
grain or hay. This is most likely to occur when fresh, new hay is
being fed. The hay ration should be fed mainly at night so that there
will be several hours in which the mule mnay partly dligest and assimilate
this bulky feed before going to work.
Mules like to roll after being unharnessed, and(l they should have
a place where they may enjoy themselves in this way. Moreover,
they will be nmucl more comfortable in summIer if tiley are turned out
on pasture at night after they have cleaned up their feed. When
turned onto l)asture at night they will sweat more the next day, but
the beneficial effects obtained from the grass and being in the open
will more than offset the effects of excessive sweating. If one is unable
to supply pasture for the mules at night during the summer,
a paddock or lot should be provided where they may be comfortable.
The general form and appearance of the mule should closely resemble
that of a horse, and in judging mules the same general points
of perfection are to be looked for. The nearer the mule approaches
the ideal desired in a draft horse the more valuable he is from a market
standpoint. In the mule there are certain characteristics derived
from his paternal side which are mainly indicated in his bray, disposition,
ears, tail, and feet, aside from which the mule does not differ
materially from the dam.
Mules vary in height from the little 12-hand pit mule to the large
draft mules standing 171/ hands. The range in height of various
classes of mules is given in another portion of this bulletin under
Market Classes of Mules.
The weight of mules ranges from 600 to 1,600 pounds. The
average weight of the larger type of mules ranges between 1,150 and
1,400 pounds and is the range of weigllt within which the majority of
marketable mules are classified.
The form of the mule should be compact, with a deep body, broad
chest, full flanks, short back, and well-sprung ribs. Light, waspy
flanks, long, narrow bodies, and long backs are not desirable.
Quality is rather difficult to define, but is that which every capable
judge looks for in any animal. It is indicated in the mule by a
trim, fine ear, clear-cut head and joints, flinty, flat bone, well-defined
tendons, and soft hair. Quality often marks the difference between a
"market topper" and a "jar head." A short, thick ear, a coarse head,
round, spongy bone, and a hard coat of hair are indications of poor
quality against which the judge should discriminate.
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Williams, J. O. (John Oscar), 1885- & Speelman, S. R. (Sanford Reed), 1894-. Mule production., book, 1949; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1784/m1/17/: accessed September 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.