Blue suede poos responsible for sunflower's epic proportions
A family say fowl play is the secret to a competition-winning sunflower that has reached a towering 11ft 6in.
And the secret weapon? A cockerel named Elvis.
The Douglas household's feathered friend and his harem of hens fertilised the giant bloom – which is twice the height of an average man – with their droppings.
Children Max, ten, Jamie, seven, and Molly, five, landed £100 for their school and a hamper full of goodies after triumphing in a tallest sunflower contest in Sidmouth, East Devon.
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Their 3.53 metre winning effort is only a few inches higher than two other flowers on the same plot.
Their father, Jim, 43, who at 5ft 7in is dwarfed by the huge bloom, said: "We planted it in a polytunnel and as it grew we transplanted it next to the henhouse – right where the chicken manure comes out on the floor.
"It's that which has helped bring the sunflowers on."
White silkie Elvis, who got his name as Jim and his wife Emma thought he resembled the King of Rock in his Vegas days, rules the roost with six hens. The one-year-old bird can also belt out a decent song in the mornings.
But the family, from Branscombe, will need a bigger henhouse if they want to break records. The world's tallest sunflower, grown in Germany, is a lofty 27ft.