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Exotic Zonkey Mule Is Half Zebra, Half Donkey
What do you get when you cross a zebra with a donkey? A "zonkey", of course, says Red Peterson, of Morgan Hill, Calif., a horse and mule trainer who recently crossed a male zebra with a female donkey, or jenny, to create the exotic mule.
Peterson, who owns three male zebras and one female, is trying to breed more "zonkies" by breeding one of the males to a herd of. jennies, as well as to a mare.
The "zonkey" foal, called "Pretzel", is donkey-grey colored with black stripes all the way up the front and back legs. It also carries the characteristic dorsal stripe and cross of the donkey on its back. Peterson says he'll train "Pretzel" to ride and to drive a wagon along with his zebras.
"Usually the first question people ask is, `What did you paint that mule with?' This isn't the first zonkey but there aren't many in the U.S.," says Peterson, who began breeding zebras two years ago. "Zonkeys are very gentle. They have more stamina and quickness than donkeys and are smarter than most horses. Whether you get a zebra-looking foal or a donkey-looking foal is a matter of genes."
According to Peterson, zebras are reluctant to breed with other species. "Male zebras will breed donkeys, but often they are reluctant to breed ponies and mares which get scared and start kicking. The height difference with mares is also a problem. I'd rather breed a male zebra to a mare than a stallion to a female zebra because a female zebra costs more, at $10,000 to $15,000, while a male costs only $3,000 to $7,000. If I can't successfully breed my male zebra to a mare, I hope to collect zebra semen and breed mares artificially."
For more information, contact FARM SHOW Followup, Red Peterson, Shining Star Ranch, 1195 Cochrane Road, Morgan Hill, Calif. 95037 (ph 408 779-9240)

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1989 - Volume #13, Issue #5