Owned and operated by John C​ Cooley

Cooley's Mammoth Jackstock

,/18      Our Farm is located near the town of Wagram, in the Sandhills of Scotland County, North Carolina. We are located ten miles from Laurinburg, twenty miles south of Southern Pines, thirty miles Southwest of Fayetteville, and 20 miles north of the North Carolina/South Carolina State Line just off U.S. Highway 401. We are, approximately 100 miles from the North Carolina Coast, Raleigh, and Charlotte, N.C.   We are easy to find, and visitors are welcome by appointment.

        We are a breeding farm for top quality American Mammoth Jackstock.  We only raise Mammoth Jackstock.  Since 1998 through extensive research, travel and selective breeding we have created one of the finest American Mammoth Jackstock Breeding programs anywhere. Our goal is to breed a well-mannered, sweet natured, intelligent, forward moving, athletic Mammoth with balanced conformation, height and good bone throughout our herd. We want them to look like their earlier forefathers and stay true to what a Mammoth is supposed to look like.  We have one of the largest gene pools for Mammoths anywhere, using some of the best foundation bloodlines to be found. Bloodlines including sires such as Bainbridge’s Long Ear Acres Black Cole, Rancho La Burrada Walter, PCF’s Preacher, Bully Boy, Siemon’s Glen, 3 Jumps Big Louie, Old Hickory, Ole Mississippi, Old Sid, Bramoth’s Ol Sorry, Bostick’s John Boy, Jen Jack, Julio, AAA Tennessee Rebel, Lockard Farm Nanomi, Peerless, Bramoth’s Final Edition, Thomas’s TexAss, Townley’s Munroe, Romes Lot Boyd, Elliott's Circle E Samson Mel, and Huff’s Zeb, to name a few. 

        A heritage breed is a traditional livestock animal raised by our forefathers in the United States. The American Mammoth Jackstock is a unique heritage breed of large donkey going back to the late 1700’s. The Livestock Conservatory now has the American Mammoth Jackstock listed as an endangered breed.  We know that Jackstock breeders selectively breeding for quality mammoths with foundation bloodlines are becoming just as rare.  They say that there are less than three thousand Mammoths in the world.

       For over 150 years Mules and Mammoths helped build this country.  The American Mammoth Jackstock were developed in the United States from imported large European breeds (Andalusian, Catalonian, Majorcan, Maltese, and Poitou) mixed with some of our native stock left here by the earlier Spanish Explorers.  The Mammoth was created to be used in the breeding of strong “superior mules”.  Large jacks (male donkeys) were crossed with mares (horses) to create mules, a hybrid cross.  Horses (Equus Equidae) have 64 chromosomes and American Mammoth  Jackstock (Donkey) (Equus Asinus) have 62 chromosomes. The resulting hybrid cross, “Mules”, only have 63 chromosomes and are sterile.

          The mammoths have a unique history that is fascinating.  President George Washington saw a need for superior large mules in the future for American agriculture in farming.   Henry Clay, and many others contributed to the creation of the American Mammoth Jackstock Donkey. 

       Around 1784, President George Washington received news that he had been gifted two large Spanish jacks, from King Charles III, of Spain.  One jack died in transit over here on the ship and the other he named, "Royal Gift" who arrived in 1785. Also, around 1785 the Marquis de Lafayette sent Washington a large jack from Malta with several jennies.  This jack was named “knight of Malta”. These animals arrived by ship in 1786.  These two jacks were crossed with mares and jennets.  Many jennets were from stock Washington had descended from donkeys left here from the earlier Spanish explorers

    In 1819, J.R. Brockett, Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, imported, "Mammoth", from Catalonia, Spain.  "Mammoth stood over 16 hands (64") tall.  He became a very important sire.   Henry Clay of Kentucky imported Maltese stock, in 1827, which included a very important jack, “Warrior”.  Warrior threw more refined offspring more suited for riding and also became a very important sire in the Mammoth history. 

     Imported “Mammoth” was so successful that the breed was named for him.  “Mammoth” was later sold to Henry Clay.  Both imported jacks, Warrior and Mammoth are given credit for the start of the American Mammoth Jackstock breed.  It’s a fascinating read, the American Mammoth Jackstock history.

          Donkeys are not horses, there is a difference in how they are built and their eating habits and needs.  Their Scientific classification is donkey, Equus Asinus and horse, Equus Caballus.  Mammoths' skulls are different than a horse as it is much larger and thicker boned, especially the jawbone.  You may have heard a reference in the bible to Samson using the "jawbone of an ass” to kill forty philistines; there was a reason.  Mammoths have lower withers, flatter backs and their sternum bone protrudes further out from their chest than a horses.  Their 30” plus long ears (measured tip to tip) can move separately and hear for miles.   The ears contain lots of blood vessels which aid them in releasing body heat, thus keeping them cooler. Their ears are sensitive and shouldn’t be twisted as this painful to them.  They communicate with each other and to you if you watch their ears.  I know one thing, a jenny mama can whop you upside the head hard with just one ear and get your attention.   Their pelvis is more triangular, being narrower and their cervix is deeper than a horse. Not all, but many Mammoth babies have a tendency to get stuck at their hips during birth and need assistance, which is why one of us stays at the barn with a jenny due to birth.  Many male mammoths have teats on their sheaths and their testicles are normally larger than a horse, partially due to larger blood vessels.  Veterinarians should always ligate when castrating a donkey because of heavy bleeding.  If not done properly a jack can bleed to death.   

       The American Mammoth Jackstock donkey is the largest breed of donkey and is known for its easy going, gentle disposition, high intelligence, strong and deep affection towards people.  Most mammoths are not round and fat; they are angular, and some are raw boned and lean.  Hip bones are noticed and normal. You also have Donkey Mentality (thinking) versus Horse Mentality (fleeing).   A donkey and a mule are about self-preservation and survival.  They have more stamina than a horse as they pace themselves.
        Our Cooley Mammoth Jackstock are registered with the AMJR (American Mammoth Jackstock Registry).  This is the oldest registry for American Mammoth Jackstock being founded in 1888.  One requirement to register a mammoth donkey with the AMJR is a mammoth jack must be at least 58"/14.2 hands at the withers (shoulder) and a mammoth jennet must measure at least 56" /14 hands for a jenny.

         For those of you learning a male donkey is called a "jack".   A female donkey is called a " jennet or jenny".   A male mule is a " John" and a female mule is a "Molly".     A Mare Jack is a Mammoth Jack that will breed mares.  Not all jacks will breed a mare. 

        A “hand” is an old English measurement, 4 inches to a hand (distance across your palm).  This is measured from the bottom of the front foot to top of the withers (shoulder).  A 56” measurement is referred to as 14 hands, 58" would be 14.2 hands. It should go as 14, 14.1, 14.2, 14.3, 15 hands. There are no 14.4 or 14.5 hands.

        A donkey's digestion system can break down and absorb ninety seven percent of its intake of food, unlike a horse.  Because of this fact, they cannot tolerate high protein feed or hay. We don’t recommend feeding grain or hay that has more than 12 percent protein.

        Don't make the mistake of trying to fatten up a poor fed donkey too fast, it takes time and is a slow process or you will probably founder or kill the donkey. Also be careful not to feed a young mammoth too much feed as they will start growing too fast and sometimes tendon growth (legs) doesn’t keep up.  Over feeding will founder or kill a donkey.

       Your environment will affect how you feed your animals. There is more than one right way in which to do something.  This is what we do, and it works for us here in North Carolina.  Mammoths are not fed like the other donkey breeds.  Here we feed our mammoths like the old mammoth breeders taught John.  Mammoths need to eat roughage.  Our jackstock are kept on Coastal Bermuda pastures 24/7.  This type of grass has a lower protein count.  Free choice hay and minerals/ supplements are kept out for them 24/7.   I can’t stress the importance of Minerals in their diet. Our area (most areas east of the Mississiooi) is low in selenium, so we feed minerals with that in mind. Selenium is important for muscle and tendon development and growth.  We suggest that you take a soil sample to your local extension office and have them test your soil to see what you may or may not have in minerals and then feed accordingly.  I do know, when we started our mineral program, years ago, our jackstock's overall health improved and they quit eating the barn, literally. 

         Here in North Carolina, our mammas and babies are fed oats, grown straight out of our field.  Jacks are fed oats during breeding season. That’s the only grain we feed and only to these two groups. Never feed sweet feed to a donkey. We worm every six months and, in some cases more, when needed.  As John says, Dr. Tex Taylor told him, years ago, "don't get caught up in looking at the feed bucket look at the donkey".  If you run your hand down the top crest of their neck and it feels like it's getting fat back off the feed, if you are seeing their ribs, they probably need a little more feed. I can’t say this enough - Your environment, where you live, affects how you feed.
        Anyone that thinks donkeys are slow, better think again they can run and turn on a dime and they are quick. They can scratch behind their ear with their back foot, which means they have a larger kicking range than a horse, and they can be highly accurate, if needed. They can kick forward, sideways and backwards. Because of how the donkey’s eyes are placed in their head, their sight range enables them to see all four of their feet.  It is very rare that we get kicked here, but we know just like it is with a horse it can happen.

       Mammoths are truly the gentle giants of the donkey world. Their gentleness is bred into them unlike other donkey breeds.  A Mammoth is a breed of donkey not just a height.  A large standard donkey is not a Mammoth because of its height; it is a different breed. They are built different.  There are roughly 173 different donkey breeds in this world.

        Here at our farm, we have adult jackstock ranging from 14 to 16.2 hands and weighing between 900 and 1200 pounds.  They’re as big as horses.  Mammoths are slow growing and are not full grown until well into their fifth year.  Our jackstock is still growing at three years and on into their fifth year.  One of ours have grown as much as six inches in his third year, CMJS Hank. 

        I can’t stress enough about the importance of balanced conformation.  I put conformation above bloodlines. Two individuals can have the same bloodline but without good conformation, you have nothing. 

        We do not ride our jackstock until they are four years old, nor do we breed our jennets until they are four years old.  We allow time for their bones to harden from growing and they have a better mental maturity.  Our breeding jacks are not started at breeding until late two years old. Weanling jacks and jennies are weaned and separated at 6 months. Jacks are separated from jennies, mainly due to Murphy's Law. An occasional young jack can be fertile in his first year. 

     Mammoths come in many colors black, roan, dapple gray and sorrels (red).  Mammoths do not have dark crosses across their shoulders like other breeds and are not painted.  Mammoths should have light highlights around their eyes, nose and underbelly and not be solid colors.  Here at Cooley’s Mammoth Jackstock, we only breed black with white points, roans, and dapple grays.  Mammoths can live to be in their thirties.   

     Breeding is a crap shoot, you put two individual’s genetics in the pot, stir it up, and sooner or later you get something out of the wood pile that you weren’t expecting.  Such as sorrell colored babies going back three generations in one of their parent’s bloodlines to find that color.   

       Jacks are stallions and are very territorial. They will not tolerate another jack or male equine. We have one who will not tolerate a gelding either.  Jacks will fight other jacks to the death.  Our jacks have their own pastures away from other jackstock. Some have ten feet between the jack pastures.  They are fine being alone, they see other jackstock from their pasture and do fine.  They are kept separate from the jennies until breeding season. Some jacks will aggravate and harass a bred jenny until she aborts just so he can breed her. Some jacks have killed jennys being too aggressive with them. Some are so protective of their pasture they will not tolerate newborns or anything new.

       Our guys are well mannered for the most part and easy to work with because we interact with them all the time. Yes, we hug on them and show them love which they return, but, if there is a four legged hot to trot female equine close by, you are a gnat to them.  Do we turn our backs on them; no, we do not. We respect them. They are studs, no matter how loving he is, he can snap and become a danger.  

      Inexperienced people do not need Jacks!  Their strength is tremendous. They were put on this earth to procreate and that is always top priority on their mind. Only quality jacks should be used for breeding.  There are too many jacks and jennets in this world, that aren't of good breeding quality, being bred which ultimately only weakens the breed.  

     We pasture breed our jennies to our jacks.  Again, there is more than one right way to breed.  This is what works for us.  The jennies are brought to the jacks.  We have found that for us we have a higher conception rate pasture breeding than when hand breeding.  We have two breeding seasons per year here in NC: Spring (March through May) and Fall (September through October).  Mainly because we don’t want babies born during extreme cold or heat.

       Gestation for a horse is eleven to twelve months and for a jenny it can be twelve to fourteen months.  Old Rita has the record here with thirteen and a half months.  We bring full term jennies up to the main barn where they can be watched. When a jenny shows signs of being close to delivering, she is kept in the maternity paddock or if weather is bad, she is brought into the barn. When its foaling time one of us stays with the jenny.  Our live birth rate has improved ninety nine percent since we started staying for the birth. We choose to make this commitment and sacrifice for our mammoths because we love them. 

        Mammoths are the strongest animals I have ever worked with, much stronger than a horse. Their strength and gentle nature are amazing.  They are used in many ways: companionship, trail riding, driving and therapy. 

      Not all mammoths are good guardians, it depends on the individual. There should always be more than one in a pasture as guardians. For one, they’re herd animals and need like companionship.  Secondly, one donkey alone can be maimed or killed by a pack of coyotes or dogs. Two stand a much better chance of defending.  Jacks do not make good guardians; they are too territorial against anything new in their pasture, including new babies.  Note: If a donkey should eat cattle feed containing Urea or Monensin additives, it will kill a donkey or a horse.   Don't think you will just turn them out with the other animals in a pasture and forget them.

        Donkeys need their feet trimmed every six to eight weeks.  A donkey's hoof is different from a horse, their foot is smaller and more oval shaped than a horse with a concave thick sole.  They should be trimmed at a more upright, forty-five-degree angle (more heel), compared to a horse's lower, fifty-degree angle. Donkeys have a thicker flatter sole than a horse.  

       Mammoths tend to not like canines, especially coyotes and most are very protective of their area. They do not know the difference between a dog and a coyote. It is possible to have dogs as we do, and they can exist together.   Jennies with babies are extremely protective and will not tolerate anything they perceive as a danger to their babies, especially coyotes and dogs.       

        Not much goes on around their pasture that those ears don’t pick up on.  Those long ears can hear for great distances.  Mammoths tend not to run in fright as horses do, they freeze and try to think through the situation before deciding to run or fight.  When a donkey freezes up and won't lead, they are usually scared or trying to think through the situation, they are not necessarily being stubborn.  Donkeys are mental thinkers; they will teach you patience!

     The key to working with mammoths is having their trust.  You must give them time to know you.  Once you have a mammoth’s trust, he or she will do anything to please you. You will never come home unannounced again, as they will bray at your arrival.  Their bray can be heard up to a mile or more away.  When a baby is born here on the farm, the whole herd begins relaying the news by braying across the farm, no matter the time.  It's the coolest thing.

       Mammoths are special and extremely addictive. As you spend time with them, they will fascinate you with their sweet disposition, intelligence, mischievous humor, and personalities. It is amazing how Mammoths are so in tune and sensitive to humans.  They have a unique ability to communicate their thoughts, wants, and needs and are very sensitive to your needs - if you allow yourself to listen to what you are seeing.  Mammoths love to be loved on and they give just as much affection back to you.  They hug you with their bodies and rest their heads on your shoulder.  Their eyes tell you of their intelligence as they look you in the eye.  You can go spend time with them and they are the best stress relievers around.  They can put your world back in balance and bring calmness back to your inner self.      Plus, you gotta love their long ears and then there is the “Bray” … there is not another sound like it!

  If you are interested in one or more of our mammoths, please contact us and we will be glad to answer your questions.  Visitors are welcome by appointment.

For sales information you may contact us at Cooleysmammothjackstock@gmail.com  
Facebook Pages - Cooleys Mammoth Jackstock and J Cooley Mammoth

Or call John Cooley (910) 318-2700, between 6 and 9PM (EST)   
or contact             
Beth Cooley Newton (910) 384-4870, 8AM to 9PM (EST).

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