Labrador named Fred ‘adopts’ a brood of orphaned ducklings — for the second time

The ducklings were orphaned after their mother mysteriously disappeared overnight in the grounds of Mountfitchet Castle

A group of 15 orphaned ducklings have found an unlikely foster father in the form of a golden Labrador named Fred after their mother vanished overnight.

Remarkably, this isn’t the first time time Fred has made headlines for his paternal generosity, having adopted nine orphaned chicks when he was ten years old back in 2018.

Four years years later, the ageing dog has become proud father to an adorable new raft.

Pictures show the ducklings huddling between his front legs and even on top of him as they lay together in the sun at Mountfitchet Castle near Stansted, Essex, where Fred is resident pooch.

The ducklings were orphaned after their mother mysteriously disappeared overnight in the Castle grounds.

Ever since, Fred has made sure to look after his new similarly coloured foster children, even carrying them around on his back.

Fred’s owner, Mountfitchet Castle director Jeremy Goldsmith, says he’s not surprised that Fred has found a new family.

“Over the 15 years of owning him Fred has spent a lot of time at the Castle with the animals and it has become second nature to him being amongst the various rescued animals,” he said.

The ducklings are expected to remain with Fred at the castle until they’re old enough to survive on their own.

Built more than 900 years ago, Mountfitchet is a Norman Motte-and-Bailey castle made of wood.

Formerly an Iron Age hill fort, the historic site was a Roman signals fort and later a Saxon and Viking settlement, before being attacked in 1066 by William the Conqueror.

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