History of the Mammoth Jack
Why, you say, would one breed an incredible Percheron or Clydesdale to a skinny, loud, long eared Ass? Well, this is where American ingenuity and capitalism takes the stage. It’s all about economics. You see, the American farmer wanted more than raw power.
I’ll start with the basics: Mules are half donkey. Donkeys live longer than horses. Mules, therefore, have a longer work life than their mothers. Oh, did I mention that they eat less? Or that they require less veterinarian visits or that they’re smarter – not stubborn, just smarter. There are other attributes I can mention, but I’ll only do one more. Ever hear of twenty mule team Borax? Of course. How about the twenty horse team Borax? Nope! Want to know why? Mules can be trained to do things that horses can’t (remember smarter)? I have seen pictures of 40 mules pulling farm equipment whereas a horse hitch of eight is about it (there are exceptions). This is the ingenuity and economics that the American farmer recognized in mule power over horse power.
So, it was the American farmer that developed the American Mammoth. In the early 1800’s, they bought boatloads of large jackstock from Europe and the Middle East and bred them up in size to make the world’s largest breed of Ass. The gene pool cannot be easily reproduced because boatloads means there are none left to import today. And so, this is the plight of the American Mammoth and this is the reason Marcia and I could not find Mammoth donkeys to purchase in 2003.
So, If all those donkeys were imported and bred, then why is it that we were unable to locate even one? Simple: The John Deere Tractor. By 1920 there were 5.2 million registered American Mammoth donkeys. Today there remain fewer than 4000. We sold them, we used them in war, we even ate them. What we didn’t do is breed them. Who needs to feed a donkey that is big as a horse with no use other than reproduction?
The American Mammoth is still used today exactly for what it was used over 100 years ago: mule making. Unfortunately, most jacks never get to breed their own kind. They do indeed reproduce, but rarely to other Mammoths. Most people purchasing donkeys from me, and I assume from other donkey breeders, use them for mule production, thus the gene pool gets smaller. Our jennies are sold as riding stock, not breeding stock. It seems the fate of this great animal is sealed. Born to reproduce and destined to extinction.
The Last of the American Mammoth
Meet the crew
Bob & Cracker Jack- Meeting of the minds
Our babies and the farm babies
Donkey and Mules mixing and mingling