Meet Fred the Labrador who is now 'mum' to nine fluffy ducklings

Labrador Fred has a new job - mothering nine yellow ducklings who were orphaned.

The 10-and-a-half-year-old dog has taken to his new role like a duck to water.

The unusual family live at Mountfitchet Castle in Essex, which is home to a model Norman village.

Orphaned ducklings adopted by resident dog at Mountfitchet Castle

Nine lives for nine ducklingsFred the resident dog at the Castle stepped up to the challenge when nine little ducklings became orphaned last Thursday. The ducklings' mum had disappeared and a member of staff found them waddling around the castle grounds alone. The team were very worried about the ducklings but Fred, a 10 year old Labrador, immediately took to them and has been babysitting ever since.

Posted by Mountfitchet Castle on Monday, May 21, 2018

Staff noticed that the ducklings were alone on Thursday and worried might happen to them, but Fred stepped in.

It is thought that mummy duck had been taken by a fox.

The Goldsmith family, who own the attraction, are also keen on helping rescue animals and said it was just like Fred to "play mum".

When Fred goes swimming, the ducklings follow his lead and get in the water too.

"He goes swimming in the moat," explained owner Jeremy Goldsmith. "Ducklings that age, they just want a mother and they now have Fred, a stay-at-home dad."

Fred adopts orphaned ducklings
Fred adopts orphaned ducklings

It is not the first time Fred has bonded with a rescue animal.

Last year, Jeremy and his wife took in an injured squirrel which they found at the side of the road and nicknamed Fleabag.

He spent six months living in the family kitchen, often with Fred at his side.