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3 months ago

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Glad to see that the front porch pump has been re-primed.

I am hoping some of the veterans here can give me some insight on my mule problem. I have a team of 20 year old mare mules of which one stuggles to hold her weight. Recently she began losing mass along her backline . I have had her teeth floated but she seldom eats hay, instead she will eat the rye grass seed from the hay. I do find rolled up discards of hay lying around but have never actually seen her spit one out . I am currently feeding her beet pulp and alfalfa pellets (soaked) along with rye grass hay.

I know that some are just hard keepers but I feel I am missing something somewhere, especially when I read (in another post) about Jerry Hicks having a 36 year old mule.

Any thoughts appreciated.


vince mautino says 2019-03-18 13:18:51 (CST)

You might first check with the vet again and see if she has any cracked teeth or abscesses. Those rolled up pieces of partially chewed hay, and only eating the seeds might indicate that.

Next if everything there is OK get her on a quarterly worming schedule. Don't worry about rotating wormers. Find some generic Ivermectin (1.8% I think) .You can usually find it online at Valley Vet., etc. for about $2 a tube. Order twelve. About once a year give her a tube of Ivermectin Gold that treats tape worm too.

I have not had much luck with every one saying feeding beet pulp or rice barn. Plus it is easy for them to chock on the shreds if you are feeding shreds. Alfalfa will usually make some mules high. I usually feed a little bit of alfalfa to these older mules to help them thru the winter though.

I use a product that is a soybean fat additive and mix it with a little bit of grain. Most feed stores carry it . It is about$ 30 /bag. I fed a cup in the AM and a cup in the PM. Some folks have had good luck with Calf Mama by Purina/.The good stuff is a little pricey, but it works. It takes a few months to get them back on track.

Some of these older mules do have trouble holding weight mostly muscle mass, just like humans.

Other problems like ulcers, cancers etc. can crop up , but that gets a little pricey diagnosing

3 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

JerryHicks says 2019-03-18 18:36:03 (CST)

Hello! Vince gave you some great advice there. The things that I saw in my case was first, floating the teeth helped, but he had several molars missing. He didn't do very well with real stemmy hay. I feed Purina Senior feed and was well pleased with it. I also top dressed with a good mineral mix. He was hard to worm and was an expert at carrying paste wormer until he could spit it out. I started using pelleted fenbendazole and was well pleased. Some alfalfa was good, but I found a good leafy grass hay was good enough. Putting out a good loose salt and making sure he got plenty of water was also important.

3 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Chad says 2019-03-18 19:28:00 (CST)

We have mixed vegetable oil in their feed to help add weight. Anything to add more calories to their diet helps. Regular work helped us keep muscle mass on our old girls. The day finally came we had to put them down though.

3 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Scott S says 2019-03-18 23:24:12 (CST)

Parents told me a story about a neighbor that made oatmeal for his old horses everyday, said it worked really well. Looked on amazon can buy 50 lb sacks for around $62. Some mules can live into their 40’s others are old at 20. I do believe in worming and then again in month if it hasn’t been done for a while and use plenty. Sure would get mouth double checked. Steam flakes grains are a option now that are easily chewed and digested.

3 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Ossahatchee says 2019-03-19 07:41:55 (CST)

I appreciate the advice. I was certain that I was not the only that has dealt with this problem. Worming has been regular. Equine dentist is due shortly, I hope he has the solution. I will try either Calf Manna or one of the other high fat feeds (names?). Not ruling out sharing my oatmeal with her but I'll try the others first.

On another note I just acquired a team of Spotted draft mares and hope to start working with them as soon as they get settled in and I get a few other projects completed. Plans are to breed them and raise a team of mules. It's on the bucket list

I hope conversations continue here as I depend on all of you and those that have contributed in the past much like a set of encylcopedias (remember those). Please don't take this forum to facebook.


3 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2019-03-19 09:42:26 (CST)

Corn oil works well to, but is messy and you need to get about 2 cups a day into them. Start small with a little bit in their grain. Gradually work up. Mules are fussy about strange things in their grain.

All this feed is a little pricey compared to regular feed, but that is what it takes sometimes to keep these senior animals

3 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

hag says 2019-03-20 07:31:46 (CST)

Spring is almost here and good green grass will help as much as anything too... I agree with the others that calf manna is an expensive feed but will show results

2 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2019-03-20 10:08:57 (CST)

first of all I hope that you can get your mule all well again. She is not old enough yet to let her go. With spring just round the corner and new grass growing she might pick up weight again together with the other things you can do, like adding fat to her diet, in the form of linseed or other plant oils.
But also congratulation on the purchase of a new team. That is always an exciting event on a farm and I wish you all the best with those Spotted Drafts.

2 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

hag says 2019-04-07 14:30:56 (CST)

Ossahatchee how is the mule coming along? Is the calf manna helping?

2 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Ossahatchee says 2019-04-08 06:47:55 (CST)

She isn't getting worse but not improving much. I figure it should take a while to gain it back.

2 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Simon_79210 says 2019-04-09 02:49:08 (CST)

I have two Haflingers, one being 25 years old plus.
Last year the elder started to lose weight, we de-wormed, got her teeth floated.
The Dentist pointed out that her chewing motion was indicative of arthritis in the jaw, we got her on a diet of

Senior Mix

and a Joint Supplement

took a few months but she is as fat and happy and naughty as ever

2 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

grey says 2019-05-17 10:10:08 (CST)

When your mule had her teeth done, was she sedated and have her mouth properly opened with a speculum? Also, not all dentists are created equal. I've heard of people who "had the teeth done" but still had trouble with the horse not gaining, so they went to another practitioner who found lots of issues that the previous dentist had not found. Issues remedied, horse improved. How folks can get away with doing such a sloppy job, I couldn't say - but I've heard about it enough times that now I always mention it when I hear about an animal not gaining.

Also, could be a stomach ulcer. I don't know much about ulcers except that it can definitely cause weight loss.

I hope it's something you can remedy and that your critter doesn't have a serious malady or isn't one of those individuals that comes from a short-lived family. I know a horse who is old at 16 and another that is still pulling a plow at 28. Same keeper. Same feed. Different genetics.

1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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