So, you want to make a mule
The Full Story
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
A donkey breeding a horse is not always a natural event. If you were to find a Mustang (wild horse) her running on the same range as a feral donkey herd, you will never see a wild mule herd. The reason is simple- horses and donkeys do not naturally breed with each other. Mating a horse and a donkey results in a hybrid animal called either a mule or hinny. We all know, if you are considering using my jack, that a female horse (mare) mating with a donkey (jack) will produce a mule. A hinny, on the other hand is a cross between a female donkey (Jenny) and a male horse (stallion). Hinnies are very rare hybrid animals. One can also breed Zebras with either donkeys or horses, but that is for another discussion.
So, then, what can go wrong with your planned animal husbandry?
First keep in mind that crossing species is unnatural and often donkeys will show no interest in your mare. If you attempt to introduce them too soon the mare will kick or kick at the jack. Definitely not a good start! When male donkeys are offered for sale, knowledgeable sellers will advertise “breeds horses AND donkeys” or “breeds Jennys only”. Donkeys that breed only Jennys will simply not breed your horse. We have a blue-ribbon donkey who has only produced mules by AI because he will simply not cover mares.
Mares can also be finicky when getting covered by donkeys. Be sure she will allow his advances, as not all girls will. If you try to force a mating with an unreceptive horse, the donkey will get kicked. When pasture breeding, be sure the mare and jack are the ONLY animals in that area. Mares that are not being bred, or even geldings, will kick the jack if they are not separated. Also, be sure to protect newborn foals from the process, as it gets rather rough at times.
Another consideration that folks don’t realize is that breeding does NOT result in a pregnancy. I think that you will find that 60% is the expected pregnancy rate provided both animals are healthy and capable of reproduction. Just because the donkey covers your mare does not mean that your girl is going to have a baby.
For a successful breeding I suggest you first get a reproductive check for your mare and get the vets approval. SHORT CYCLE the mare so that she is in heat when the Jack arrives. Timing is everything to assure pregnancy during the donkeys visit. Sperm dos not survive indefinitely in the mare, so you will need to cover more than once in a heat cycle. Sperm needs to be present at the time of ovulation. If she has not conceived, she will ovulate again in 21 days, so with your 30-day rent of the Jack you can cover the mare again if needed. Leave them together or tease her again at 18-21 days. If there is no sign of heat, your mare is pregnant.
One last tidbit: Mules are indeed sterile, but they do not know it. Mare mules have heat cycles just like any equine. John mules will cover horses, mules, donkeys and even zebras if not gelded, so take care to get that done as soon as your vet suggests. Mules outlive horses, so tell your grandkids they better get to know your baby.
God bless and happy mule days.
Bob Doxey. Lazy BD Donkey Farm
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