Thursday, April 27, 2017

Donkeys, Burros, and Mules ~ Oh My!

In the old west, one of the most used beasts of burden was the donkey. Also known as the burro and ass. I always wondered what was the difference between the them. Well, none.  The donkey has over 185 breeds worldwide. So a burro is a small donkey.

You can hardly picture a miner without his trusty sidekick burro beside him.

Mules are the result of a cross between a donkey and a horse. Specifically a male donkey with a female horse. A female donkey and a male horse result in a hinny.

Mules are typically sterile, but there have been a few who have had offspring.  Horses have 64 chromosomes and donkeys 62 while mules split the difference with 63. And seem to pick the best of both their parents traits.

The result ~ mules are sturdier and hardier than horses and were desired for the wagon trains going west. While a horse will work itself to death, a mule will not. A good trait but it has earned them the characteristic of stubbornness

The west was mined, scouted, and tamed on the backs of donkeys and mules. They hauled freight and families. Let's applaud the lowly donkey and mule.

~~~~~ Hope you enjoyed the information.  Hee Haw 
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  1. I love them all. We have several places near us that have donkeys (they are protective of cattle, goats, etc. from Coyote) I know where a few draft horse are, such huge and beautiful creatures. I love mules. One of these days I want to go to Mule Day here in TN.

    1. Oh you're right. I should have added that people put burros in the pastures to protect the stock. Such wonderful animals. And cute!

  2. We have a family of wild donkeys in Cripple Creek, Colorado. They even have Donkey Derby Days on the last weekend on June to celebrate this wonderful creature. Doris

  3. When I was little, we went to Donkey baseball games. What fun!