WATCH: Dog acts as mum to nine ducklings

Ducklings getting a ride on Fred the Labrador's back at Mountfitchet Castle, Stansted Picture: JEREM

Ducklings getting a ride on Fred the Labrador's back at Mountfitchet Castle, Stansted Picture: JEREMY GOLDSMITH - Credit: Jeremy Goldsmith

Lovable Labrador dog Fred is acting as an unlikely “mum” to nine orphaned ducklings at a heritage attraction in Essex.

Fred the Labrador and the ducklings at Mountfitchet Castle, Stansted Picture: JEREMY GOLDSMITH

Fred the Labrador and the ducklings at Mountfitchet Castle, Stansted Picture: JEREMY GOLDSMITH - Credit: Jeremy Goldsmith

Staff at Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted were very worried when the mother duck disappeared last week, and the youngsters were found waddling around the castle grounds alone.

However, 10-year-old Fred immediately took to them and has been acting as a stand-in parent ever since.

Ducklings being cared for by Fred the Labrador at Mountfitchet Castle Picture: JEREMY GOLDSMITH

Ducklings being cared for by Fred the Labrador at Mountfitchet Castle Picture: JEREMY GOLDSMITH - Credit: Jeremy Goldsmith

The ducklings adore him, and they are now getting very mischievous, even hitching a ride on his back and following him in to the water for a swim in the castle moat.

Castle manager Jeremy Goldsmith said, “He has always been very gentle. The ducklings are all in our house at the moment and he is very good with them.

“We have a lot of rescued animals, including deer, goats, chickens and peacocks. We have all the domestic fowl that would have been here in Norman times.”

The castle and Norman Village of 1066 are open daily from 10am to 5pm.

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