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Howdy! I'm brand new here. I don't currently have a typical "homestead" property at the moment (just a tiny garden), but my family has been interested in producing our own food we're looking to buy a bigger property when we are financially able to do so within the next 2 years. Until then, I'm trying to learn all that I can until we eventually dive in.

We're interested in keeping milking goats, but we're concerned about predators. I've heard that donkeys make great guardians and the largest ones can be ridden/haul things, but that mammoth donkeys are rare and difficult to obtain. I would definitely prefer a multi-use animal, which we could use to cart bulky things around and/or ride, as well as using it to guard livestock. I've heard that mules are similar to donkeys in their guarding ability and also have the donkey-esque stability in personality and sense of self-preservation, which I would prefer in a riding/working partner, as opposed to a horse's "flightiness". And they're far more common than mammoth donkeys. Anyway, I just had a few questions regarding mules that I couldn't seem to find clear answers for.

- How much weight can a mule carry comfortably? How much can they safely pull? I heard they can carry 20% of their body weight, similar to donkeys, and pull twice their body weight, but not sure that's accurate/safe or not.

- At what age is a mule no longer fit to ride/carry? I would be considering getting an older mule, since I've never owned an equine before and would definitely not want to deal with an inexperienced animal when I have little experience myself. For reference, it wouldn't be used for heavy labor; more like leisure rides and carrying/pulling things for relatively short distances, for short periods of time

Also feel free to give me general tips/info. I'd love to learn as much as I can. Thanks in advance!
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