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Do Mules Bray or Whinny?

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  • Do Mules Bray or Whinny?

    Strange questions pop into your mind sometimes when pulling second shift at work. I have heard donkeys occasionally. I have heard horses frequently. All mules I have ever encountered were at least momentarily silent. What do they do?

  • #2
    It's neither, to be quite honest! Henry makes his own special mule sound, that, once heard, can be mistaken for nothing else!


    He has a whole bunch of unique sounds that he can make, but the one that he uses when he actually wants to be heard starts off sort of like a horse whinny, and then morphs into a donkey-like bray....if he's gotten a big enough lungful of air, it can even have the "hee haw" going. Most of the time it's just a big, loud "HAAAwWwwwwwww!"

    He CAN nicker, however. It doesn't sound exactly like a horse nicker, but it's surely produced by the same principles, as it sounds the same, just tinted with his muleness. :biggrin:

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    • #3
      The one I worked with kind of had a combo platter!! It started out sounding like a whinny, but finished like a bray. Scared the bejeesus out of me when I first heard it! I turned to the girl showing me the ropes and asked who was killing that horse?!?!?! She just laughed and said "That's just Dolly...you'll get used to her!" HA! My 18h draft cross never quite trusted her, though...
      When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

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      • #4
        We bought a young mule, 2months old. Owners wanted this accidental foal GONE because they were embarassed mare had gotten bred by the neighborhood donkey who was always loose.

        She never did the heehaw thing. Just had the heeEEEEEEEE going, for a VERY LONG time. Sounded like a woman being killed out in the field!! Really got us jumping the first few times, ran right out there to see what was going on. We were kind of lucky that she only sounded off once in a long time. Our rather suburban neighbors would NOT have appreciated that noise at dawn as many donkeys do.

        We had her a couple years, never heard the hee haw from her. She did have some quiet noises in her throat she talked to you with, talked to the horses she lived with, just not many screams.

        Most of the mules we know do a honky noise as they inhale, with the haw as the exhale.

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        • #5
          We have several mules in our field and they all make different sounds. It's neither a whinny or a bray, that much I can tell you.
          One molly sounds like she's laughing all the time. A real hearty belly laugh...
          DON'T MAKE ME COME DOWN THERE!!! - God

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          • #6
            Yep, I'd say it's somewhere between the two, with a smattering of something else entirely! When I first moved here (to the farm where I have my horses), there was another boarder with 6-8 mules. At least one had the EERIEST sound! Sent shivers.
            Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.
            Starman

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            • #7
              Everyone else seems to be saying it is neither a whinny or bray, but I kind of think of it as both. To me, it starts kind of like a whinny and ends with the hee haw donkey braying sound. I have a mini mule, and the first time anyone hears her, they can't help but bust up laughing. She's not much of a talker, however, but she does call out when one of us feed-bearers is headed to the barn. Mostly, I think, to call her buddies in for food.

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              • #8
                They certainly do nicker- well kinda of-more like a mulie nicker. Then they make a strange nosie-it sounds like a shrill woman who should never be allowed to sing grabbing the mike to sing karaoke. My mare before she moved had two mules as her neighbours. Very adorable. Somehow when they nicker for treats, they are almost so dog like-just the expression on their face and the way they do it-very endearing. I like them..

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                • #9
                  The mules I've met shriek like a flotilla of Italian tenors being slain in the courtyard of a nunnery. Shrieking women included.
                  My ears hear a symphony of two mules, trains, and rain. The best is always yet to come, that's what they explained to me. —Bob Dylan

                  Fenway Bartholomule ♥ Arrietty G. Teaspoon Brays Of Our Lives

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                  • #10
                    The best description I've heard is an asthmatic airhorn. Kinda like this.
                    The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
                    Winston Churchill

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by goodhors View Post
                      We bought a young mule, 2months old. Owners wanted this accidental foal GONE because they were embarassed mare had gotten bred by the neighborhood donkey who was always loose.

                      She never did the heehaw thing. Just had the heeEEEEEEEE going, for a VERY LONG time. Sounded like a woman being killed out in the field!! Really got us jumping the first few times, ran right out there to see what was going on. We were kind of lucky that she only sounded off once in a long time. Our rather suburban neighbors would NOT have appreciated that noise at dawn as many donkeys do.

                      We had her a couple years, never heard the hee haw from her. She did have some quiet noises in her throat she talked to you with, talked to the horses she lived with, just not many screams.

                      Most of the mules we know do a honky noise as they inhale, with the haw as the exhale.

                      Thanks for the morning laugh I can just picture that...

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                      • #12
                        Mine makes an odd sound. It starts like a bray, ends like a whinney. The reaction from people hearing it for the first time is hilarious. "WTF is THAT?! And is it alright, or do we need the vet?" is the typical reaction. He does nicker for his food when he sees me leave the house.

                        Poor Burrito. Not only is he a mini with a horrible name, but he gets no respect no matter how loud he yells.

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                        • #13
                          So....a "Brinny?" "Whray?"
                          Adversity is the stone on which I sharpen my blade.

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                          • #14
                            Mine always started with a whinny and it ended with a bray. My boy has been gone five months now and I think I still hear him sometimes. Miss ya, John.
                            You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jasmine View Post
                              Poor Burrito. Not only is he a mini with a horrible name, but he gets no respect no matter how loud he yells.
                              Burrito the mini mule!!!
                              Poor guy-does anyone ever take him seriously!

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by didgery View Post
                                The mules I've met shriek like a flotilla of Italian tenors being slain in the courtyard of a nunnery. Shrieking women included.


                                Thanks for the chuckle!
                                View my photographs at www.horsephotoguy.zenfolio.com

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Frank B View Post
                                  The best description I've heard is an asthmatic airhorn. Kinda like this.

                                  Talking of equine sounds--that video made me snort! (trying not to laugh out loud at work).

                                  Thanks for posting the link--that is great!
                                  Founder of the People Who Prefer COTH Over FB Clique
                                  People Who Hate to Rush to Kill Wildlife Clique!
                                  "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by tkhawk View Post
                                    Burrito the mini mule!!!
                                    Poor guy-does anyone ever take him seriously!
                                    Nope. Never. I broke him to drive this winter. His harness is shiny patent leather, with a fluffy pink pad on the saddle part. My farrier has Clydesdales...remember the Budweiser commercial where the Donkey had Feather extensions to be a part of their hitch team? I'm so mean to him.

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