MULE GAVE BIRTH
By Luz Maria Osorio.

They say Mules cannot give birth and are hostile to
foals, but the mule Chucurena has proved completely
the opposite. On 25 September 2011 she gave birth to a
beautiful baby mule in Colombia South America and she
is proving to be a great mother!
Chucurena is a 3 ½ year old black mule from Hacienda
El Cerro in Bucaramanga, she is very affectionate,
produces lots of milk and she is always looking after her
baby.

This miracle was achieved thanks to the Embryo
transplant technique. An eight day old embryo was
extracted from a mare and implanted in the mule's womb
to develop it. Embryo transplants are a complicated
process that requires synchronizing the ovulating time in
both females, in this instance it was carried out by the
specialized Colombian Veterinarian Hector Mendez.

The embryo was from a Paso Fino Mare called La
Querencia and the Paso Fino Donkey Cosaco XVI de
Villa Luz. The pregnancy was 11 months and the
delivery was normal with no complications, the mule
knew exactly what to do and behaved as an expert
mother even if it was her first time! The baby is a female
and it was called “La bien querida” (The much loved).

But that is not the end of the story, just 12 hours before
the mule Chucurena gave birth, the egg donor mare also
gave birth to another mule foal from the same donkey
Cosaco XVI. Two foals born the same day, with the
same dame and sire and they are not twins!

Are you a bit confused? The explanation is easy: 13
days after the embryo was taken out of the mare, she
had her cycle and was inseminated again and got
pregnant, this time they left the embryo in, and another
mule was born!

As you may know, most of the mules are sterile because
they are a hybrid resulting from the cross of a donkey
and a female horse. Both belong to the equidae family
but they are two different species with different number
of chromosomes, the donkey (Equus asinus) has 62
chromosomes and the mare (Equus caballus) has 64
chromosomes so the mule is born with 63. The odd
number prevents the chromosomes from pairing up and
creating embryos, but it doesn’t mean that mules don’t
have a reproductive system, they have all the organs
and they can perfectly carry a foetus.

Even if most mules are sterile, they have a maternal
instinct, we had a case in our Farm where the mule La
Rosa de Villa Luz, fell in love with a foal of a mare and
tried to steal it, she kept very close to it for weeks,
showing angry signs to the mare and a maternal attitude
to the foal; when the mare and the foal were transferred
to another pasture, the mule brayed for days. We have
also been told of another case where an orphan foal
was adopted by a mule and after two days the mule
started producing milk!

Even though some mules have ovulation cycles, only 60
cases of mules giving birth have been documented in
the last 500 years around the world.

in Colombia, South America a mule called Gaviota gave
birth not only once but twice. First in 1976 to a baby foal
that looked like a mule and after 16 months, to a baby
foal that looked like a horse, both fathered by the same
horse called Arandu!!

As you can see mules never stop surprising us, they are
lovely animals and there are still loads to learn about
them!
25 Sept-2011, Colombia
25 Sept-2011, Colombia
August 1976, Colombia
December 1977, Colombia
December 1977, Colombia
MULES ARE GOOD MOTHERS TOO
Top left:         La Chucurena with her foal 2011 en
                   Bucaramanga - Colombia
    
Middle left:    La Gaviota with her foal 1976 en
                    Montelibano- Colombia

Bottom left :   La Gaviota with her second foal 1977  en
                    Medellin-Colombia