The mother unexpectedly vanished overnight in the grounds of Mountfitchet Castle, leaving the ducklings orphaned.

After their mother mysteriously disappeared, a clutch of fifteen orphaned ducklings discovered an odd foster father in the form of a golden Labrador named Fred.

Interestingly, Fred has made news before for his paternal kindness. In fact, he adopted nine orphaned chicks when he was 10 years old back in 2018.

The old dog has become a proud father to a cute new litter four years later.

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

The mother of the ducklings inexplicably vanished overnight in the grounds of the castle, leaving the little ones orphaned.

Since then, Fred has made sure to take care of his brand-new, similarly colored foster children, even going so far as to carry them.

Director of Mountfitchet Castle Jeremy Goldsmith, who is the owner of Fred, said that he is not shocked that Fred has found a new family.

"Fred has spent a lot of time at the Castle with the animals during the 15 years that we've owned him, and it's become second nature to him being among the many rescued creatures," he added.

Till they are mature enough to live on their own, Fred plans to keep the ducklings with him at the castle.

Mountfitchet is a Norman Motte-and-Bailey fortress built of wood that was constructed more than 900 years ago.

The historic location was an Iron Age hill fort, a Roman signal fort, and subsequently a Saxon and Viking village, before being attacked by William the Conqueror in 1066.
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