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'Who's the doggy daddy?' - Fred the Labrador takes new flock under his wing

PUBLISHED: 11:19 29 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:19 29 May 2019

Fred took the flock under his wing yesterday morning after their mother, a Muscovy duck, wandered off with their siblings Picture: JEREMY GOLDSMITH

Fred took the flock under his wing yesterday morning after their mother, a Muscovy duck, wandered off with their siblings Picture: JEREMY GOLDSMITH

JEREMY GOLDSMITH

A lovable Labrador who famously cared for nine abandoned ducklings last year has opened his heart to a new flock of fluffy friends.

As soon as he saw the little ducklings huddled together, the 11-year-old Labrador jumped at the chance to look after them Picture: JEREMY GOLDSMITHAs soon as he saw the little ducklings huddled together, the 11-year-old Labrador jumped at the chance to look after them Picture: JEREMY GOLDSMITH

Fred the dog hit national headlines in May last year when he acted as a stand-in parent for nine adorable ducklings abandoned near his home.

Now, almost exactly one year on, the lovable Labrador has opened his heart once again - this time for a flock of seven fluffy ducklings, each just eight days old.

Fred took the flock under his wing yesterday morning after their mother, a Muscovy duck, wandered off with their siblings - leaving half of her babies behind in the nest.

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As soon as he saw the little ducklings huddled together, the 11-year-old Labrador jumped at the chance to look after them.

He lay down with the flock to keep them warm and the little ducklings immediately took to him.

The unconventional family are now happily settled on the grounds of Fred's home at Mountfitchet Castle in Essex.

Jeremy Goldsmith, who owns the castle, said he knew "dear old Fred" would be willing to step in.

"He took to his role like a duck to water," he said.

"Fred indicated straight away that there would be no ducking out of his duties as he settled in around them. Within minutes the ducklings accepted their odd-looking new mum and were climbing all over him."

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