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Last Updated: Friday, 9 April 2004, 21:12 GMT 22:12 UK
Multi-coloured chicks for Easter
Brightly coloured chicks at a farm in Alaska
The dye comes off as the chicks grow new feathers
A farm in the northern US state of Alaska has given Easter egg decoration a whole new meaning.

Triple D Farm and Hatchery, in Palmer, injects the eggs with dye to produce multi-coloured baby chicks.

Children visiting the farm in the run-up to Easter were met with more than 400 orange, red, green, purple, pink and blue chickens and ducks.

Farm owners insist the non-toxic dye is harmless and temporary, disappearing as the animals grow their new feathers.

"It's something we've done at Easter time for the last few years," Phyllis Burney, fiancee of owner Anthony Schmidt, told BBC News Online.

"It's mainly for the children. They are quite in awe when they come to the farm and see the multi-coloured chicks.

'Blue mother'

"One little boy came with his kindergarten last week and when he was asked how the chick became blue, said it was because it had a blue mother," said Ms Burney.

The dye is injected into ordinary chicken eggs a few weeks before Easter.

The baby chicks are not hurt, but provide a psychedelic spectacle when they hatch.

"The dye doesn't last much more than a couple of weeks, once the chicks' new feathers come through," said Ms Burney.

The farm, near the city of Anchorage, annually colours around 200 baby chickens and 200 baby ducks.

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