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Friday, April 15, 2011

Farmer dyes his sheep orange

A Devon farmer has dyed his entire flock of 250 sheep orange to stop rustlers stealing them.

John Heard had lost 200 of his blackface ewes over the past few years - but the thefts stopped as soon as he dipped then in the harmless dye.

Mr Heard, 48, of Okehampton, said: "Sheep rustling has become a big problem with ewes worth around £140 each. My flock roams Dartmoor and I was getting fed-up losing them.

"My son James suggested the orange dye and although it produces some strange-looking sheep it has done the trick and I haven't lost one this year.

"It works because they are so easy to distinguish making it easier for me and my neighbours to keep a wary eye out for them. Plus the rustlers are obviously nervous about stealing such easily distinguished animals."

The dye eventually wears off with no side effects for the animals but has caused bemused reactions from onlookers.
Mr Heard added: "Other farmers as well as a fair few ramblers have been shocked but others have said they are now willing to try the idea if it works.

"At the moment it is doing exactly what I hoped it would and stopping the rustlers in their tracks."

There has been a five-fold increase in sheep thefts this year and a spokeswoman for the National Farmer's Union commented: "In the circumstances orange sheep seem like a very good idea."

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