Page last updated at 13:14 GMT, Wednesday, 24 September 2008 14:14 UK

Fighting leaves male sheep blue

Blue sheep
Only some of the sheep in the field were totally blue

The unusual appearance of a flock of sheep spotted in a North Tyneside field was the result of fights between rival males, a farmer has said.

The animals, in Dudley, near Cramlington, had been let out early to produce lambs for the spring market.

Rams were marked with a blue dye which gets transferred to a ewe during intercourse so the farmer can tell which female could be pregnant.

But the males fought amongst themselves and covered each other with dye.

The farmer, who did not want to be named, said: "They get a bit bored before they get let out and start fighting with each other.

"That's how they start covering each other in blue dye, while the ewes just get a bit of blue on their backs.

"If you look closely, the all-blue ones are the daddies."

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