A dejected rooster has jumped at the chance of new romance – with a sheep.

The cockerel called Keith decided to explore pastures new after attempts to find a mate in the henhouse were thwarted by a duck.

His bizarre antics have amused onlookers at the lambing shed at Dale Head Farm, on the North York Moors, near Rosedale Abbey, and are the talk of the remote rural community.

Keith cosies up to any sheep that takes his fancy.

Then he digs his claws in, and simply refuses to let go. Farmer Chris Barraclough and wife Maggie have never seen anything like it.

Maggie, 52, said: “Keith does not have a mate. He and an Indian Runner (a breed of domestic duck) fought over a hen, and Keith lost out.

“So now he stays with the sheep all the time.

“It must be unrequited love.

“He has decided to transfer his affections elsewhere. We take him off one sheep and the next minute he is sitting on another one. He digs his claws into the wool but never hurts them.”

Keith is two years old – making him the equivalent of 16 in human years.

He is from the traditional English Buff Orpington breed.

Indian Runners are an unusual breed of drake, which stand tall like penguins. They run rather than waddle and make hoarse whispers instead of quacks.