I've been having a wonderful time watching our three little miniature mule babies grow up this year, and I've just made a few observations on mule behavior that I thought I would write out and ask you guys about observations that you've made with your mules. Realize as you read this though that I'm no mule expert, so this is strictly unscientific.
Our three are two fillies (mollies?) named Tempest and Honor. Tempest is the chestnut, who is now 7 1/2 months old (I think? I've lost track) and Honor is 10 1/2 weeks old. We also have a little colt named Jigsaw who is 13 weeks old.
I've watched each of them from day one, and its interesting to see the diference in their personalities. It seems as though some of them tend to act more like their donkey side, while some act more like horses. I'll give descriptions, notes, and pictures of each baby individually. Tempest-
yes, we're aware that she's overweight. She gets fat on air just like her mom. >.>
The moment Tempest was born, we knew that we were in trouble. She was born kicking, and is the most independant baby we've ever had. At two days old she was leaving her mom in the dust to go play by herself and visit with the chickens, only coming back to Saidee (mom) to nurse. Even then she was obviously her mom's boss, kicking and biting her when Saidee got in her way. She weaned herself at 3 months old and refused to have anything to do with her mom. She was like a rebellious teenager. We reintroduced both her and Saidee into our herd of minis when she was 2 months old, but she absolutely hated all of the horses. She would bite and kick them and squeal in indignation if they so much as looked her way. At three months she became somewhat of a houdini, and found ways to get out of the pen (and let the other horses out) no matter what we did. Whenever we went looking for her, we knew where to go. She was always over by our miniature donkey, James (gelding) pen, sticking her nose through the bars and dozing with him. After about four times of this, we finally just decided to try penning the two of them together to see if she would stop trying to escape. They were best friends from the moment they met. Even now she's Jame's shadow. He eats, she eats. He drinks, she drinks. They groom eachother, play together, walk together. Put her back in her old pen though? She's right back to trying to kill every horse in sight, including her mother. Whats even more interesting though, is that before Tempest, we had NEVER heard James bray before, even after owning him for 10 years. When with her though, we often hear him making soft grumbling brays to her, more than we've ever heard. Tempest's sound is much like his bray, and sounds nothing like a horse. She also seems to have a lot of the donkey mindset and has to be trained like a donkey. Her first question is always 'whats in it for me?' and she's very aloof with strangers, if not crabby. With her handler though, she's sweet as pie. Obviously, she took more to her donkey heritage.
Next we have Jet.
Jet has a different dad than both Honor and Tempest, but they're half sisters. He has always been the spunky one. I honestly see nothing donkey-like about him, except for his long ears and VERY short, curly mane that refuses to grow at all. He's built just like his mama, and acts just like her too. He whinnies and nickers just like a horse rather than braying, and so far seems to be very curious and sociable with other horses as well as other livestock. He hasnt been weaned yet ofcourse so it will be interesting to see if he gravitates more towards donkeys or horses, but so far he seems far more horse-like than Tempest. His trainability and mindset seem to be more horse as well, as he'll do just about anything you want him to do. Not at all stubborn, but in some ways rather dopey and clueless xD he loves people too, and always has a trail of admirers.
Last is my filly, Honor
Honor, I think, is the one with the identity crisis. One moment she acts just like her mom, and at others I can definitely see her dad's personality kicking in. She learns things extremely fast but it is very tricky to convince her that she should do it because you ask her to (ie; leading). She loves people and has never met a stranger, but definitely holds a grudge. Theres one boy on our farm that she absolutely detests, and she's very vocal about it. She doesnt really seem to gravitate more towards horses or other livestock just yet, and actually seems to prefer to be in human company than equine. The noise is absolutely halarious though, as it is a mix between a donkey's bray and a horse's whinny. Sounds more like a pig than anything! Some times it is a 'SQUEEEE!' some times it is more like a 'SQUERHERHER' and she often startles herself when the sound comes out of her throat xD she's definitely the most typical 'mule brain' of then three in my opinion, a mix between the two.
So what about you guys? Do you think that different mules display different charactaristics from their two lineages? Or is it just more of a personality thing? Are some geneticallywired to think more horse-like or donkey-like? I want opinions! :) Also, feel free to share quirks, personalities, stories, and friends of your mules. I'd love to hear and see them!