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Mule

MULE

MULE. A mule is a cross between a male donkey and a female horse. The male mule is called a jack and the female is a jennet or a jenny. A smaller cross, the hinny, is from a male horse and a female donkey. Both mules and hinnies are nearly always sterile.

In the formative years of the United States, the attributes of mules, horses, and oxen were the subject of much debate. Mules traveled at 2½ miles per hour. Oxen were slower, at 2 m.p.h. The faster speed could save a week or more over that of oxen when going long distances. However, a pair of oxen cost $40 to $160, and mules from $200 up to $400 for a pair. Oxen could graze along the trail, but mules had to be fed grain to supplement the grazing. Grain had to be taken on the wagons; therefore, less paying freight could be hauled. Speed and distance were the main parts of the equation.

Mules could go twenty-four hours without water when they had a light load of under 300 pounds. The standard army mule load was about 150 pounds. A mule was used to pack loads on its back, pull wagons, or be ridden. Mules had more stamina and were more sure-footed than horses and were resistant to disease. Oxen could be slaughtered and eaten when meat was low and wild game impossible to find.


George Washington used his influence to get embargoes removed so mules could be imported from France and Spain. He much preferred mules over horses as work animals. Washington spoke disparagingly of horses when he pronounced, "Horses eat too much, work too little, and die too young." Washington's support of mules and his mule-breeding program was well known. At Mount Vernon, Washington's plantation, many individuals came to observe the mules and later went into the mule business.

Mules were important to the settling of Missouri. The overgrowth of trees and brush had to be cleared enough to make trails and roads, logs had to be cut for houses, and land for fields needed to be reclaimed. Mules were the perfect work animals for these jobs. By the 1871 census, Missouri was ranked as the state with the most mules, 110,000. Nearly half of Missouri farmers either used mules on their farms or bred them as a business. The mule has been the official state animal of Missouri since 1995.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Marcy, Randolph B. The Prairie Traveler: The Best-Selling Handbook for America's Pioneers. Old Saybrook, Conn.: Apple-wood Books, Globe Pequot Press, 1994. Originally published in 1859.

Stamm, Mike. The Mule Alternative: The Saddle Mule in the American West. Battle Mountain, Nev.: Medicine Wolf Press, 1992.

PeggySanders

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mule (in zoology)

mule, hybrid offspring of a male donkey (see ass) and a female horse, bred as a work animal. The name is also sometimes applied to the hinny, the offspring of a male horse and female donkey; hinnies are considered inferior to mules. The mule has many donkey characteristics—long ears, a tufted tail, slender legs, small hooves, and a loud bray—but it resembles a horse in size and strength. Most mules weigh from 1,100 to 1,400 lb (500–640 kg). They lack the speed of horses, but are more surefooted and have great powers of endurance. Like donkeys, they are of a cautious and temperamental disposition and require expert handling to perform well. Both sexes are sterile. Mules have been bred as pack and draft animals since prehistoric times, and are still used throughout the world, particularly in regions where mechanized farm equipment is uncommon. They have been widely used in the United States, where they were first bred by George Washington, but are now found mainly in the southeastern states. Mules were used extensively for military transport before the advent of mechanization. They are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Perissodactyla, family Equidae.

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mule

mule1 / myoōl/ • n. 1. the offspring of a donkey and a horse (strictly, a male donkey and a female horse), typically sterile and used as a beast of burden. Compare with hinny1 . ∎  a person compared to a mule, esp. in being stubborn or obstinate. ∎ inf. a courier for illegal drugs. ∎  a small tractor or locomotive, typically one that is electrically powered. 2. a hybrid plant or animal, esp. a sterile one. ∎  any of several standard crossbred varieties of sheep. 3. (also spinning mule) a kind of spinning machine producing yarn on spindles, invented by Samuel Crompton (1753–1827) in 1779. 4. a coin with the obverse and reverse of designs not originally intended to be used together. mule2 • n. a slipper or light shoe without a back.

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mule

mule the offspring of a donkey and a horse (strictly, a male donkey and a female horse), typically sterile and used as a beast of burden. It is also proverbially taken as the type of obstinacy.

Since the 1980s, mule has also been the informal name for a person (typically a young woman in need of money) recruited by a drug trafficker to carry drugs through airports and other customs points.

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mule

mule Hybrid, sterile offspring of a female horse and a male ass; it is different from the smaller hinny, which is the result of a cross between a male horse and a female ass. Brown or grey, it has a uniform coat and a body similar to a horse, but has the long ears, heavy head and thin limbs of an ass. The mule is commonly used as a pack animal. Height: 1.8m (5.8ft).

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mule

mule offspring of he-ass and mare XIII; transf. of various hybrids, e.g. a kind of spinning machine XVIII. — OF. mul m., (also mod.) mule fem.:- L. mūlus m., mūla fem.
So muleteer mule-driver. XVI. — F. muletier, f. mulet, dim. f. OF. mul; see -ET, -EER1.

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mule (in manufacturing)

mule, in manufacturing: see spinning.

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mule

muleBanjul, befool, Boole, boule, boules, boulle, cagoule, cool, drool, fool, ghoul, Joule, mewl, misrule, mule, O'Toole, pool, Poole, pul, pule, Raoul, rule, school, shul, sool, spool, Stamboul, stool, Thule, tomfool, tool, tulle, you'll, yule •mutule • kilojoule • playschool •intercool • Blackpool •ampoule (US ampule) • cesspool •Hartlepool • Liverpool • whirlpool •ferrule, ferule •curule • cucking-stool • faldstool •toadstool • footstool • animalcule •granule • capsule • ridicule • molecule •minuscule • fascicule • graticule •vestibule • reticule • globule •module, nodule •floccule • noctule • opuscule •pustule • majuscule • virgule

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