Mule production. Page: 2
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2 FARMERS' BULLETIN 1341
The only other State having more than 100,000 head of mules on its
farms, ranches, or plantations in 1948 was Missouri, with 105,000.
That mules are far more prevalent than horses in most of the abovenamed
States is indicated by the fact that, on January 1, 1948, these
States had an estimated total of 1,390,000 horses, compared with the
2,110,000 mules, and 440,000 of these horses were in Texas alone.
ADVANTAGES OF THE MULE AS A WORK ANIMAL
The mule is a hardy work animal. While this humble creature
responds to good treatment and gives best service under favorable
conditions of feeding and management, it is his ability to endure
hardship and to perform sterling service under adverse conditions
that has established him so firmly in American agriculture. Those
who are stanch supporters of the mule say that, in comparison with
the horse he will live longer, endure more work and hardship, require
less attention and feed, is less liable to digestive disorders, lameness,
and disease, is more easily handled in large numbers, is less
irritable, and is more capable of performing work in the hands of
a mediocre or poor horseman. Whether or not all these claims may
be substantiated, it is a fact that the mule is well established as a
work animal in those sections where climatic conditions are severe,
suitable feed often lacking, and horsemanship not a prevailing art
SOME PECULIARITIES OF THE MULE
The mule is an animal with possibly more eccentricities and undeniable
virtues than any other domestic animal. One might suspect
from his mixed heritage a rather unusual temperament requiring
careful treatment, which is the case. The chief difficulty is to know
just how to handle the mule in order to bring the desirable qualities
of his maternal ancestry into the foreground and to keep subservient
the undesirable donkey characteristics. To treat consistently an
animal having a combination of many good and bad qualities is a
task which may tax the ability of even the best horseman. Yet the
virtues of the mule have been so evident both in times of peace and
in times of war that many ardent horse lovers who were once prejudiced
against him have come to admire the animal which has no "pride
of ancestry or hope of posterity" (fig. 2).
There are some peculiarities which belong to the mule alone. He
does not like to be hurried, worried, or cuffed about; forcing him
to do things against his will is practically impossible and only makes
matters worse. The mule must be understood and gently but firmly
persuaded to do things that are out of the ordinary. He is naturally
suspicious of everybody who comes around him, and seems
to have an uncanny way of detecting whether a person is going to
treat him harshly or kindly. His reception is usually in like manner,
nor does he forget the person who inflicts harsh treatment.
There is a wrong and a right way to lead a mule. A man who looks
at a mule and lugs at his head will never make any progress. The
mule will not be pulled. He will usually follow quietly, however, if
a man walks away in the direction he desires to go. Neither can you
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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/m1/4/: accessed May 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.