True story: the dog has become the lovable new father of nine orphaned ducklings, creating an irresistibly cute sight

Fred the Labrabor took the orphans under his paw after their mum vanished on Thursday

An old dog has become a stay-at-home dad for nine ducklings after their mother suddenly disappeared.

Fred the Labrabor took the orphans under his paw after their mum vanished on Thursday.

The 10-year-old pooch is the resident pet at Mountfitchet Castle near Stansted, Essex, where a member of staff found the lost siblings waddling around the battlements.

Staff at the popular tourist attraction said they were very worriedaout the ducklings, but Fred immediately took to them and has been duck sitting ever since.

Jeremy Goldsmith, director of Mountfitchet Castle, said: “We knew the mother duck was nesting and then suddenly these ducklings appeared but she was nowhere to be seen.

“We think it was possibly a fox.”

Jeremy, who is also Fred’s owner, added: “Fred has got an absolutely wonderful nature. They absolutely love him.”

An adorable video show Fred lying on the grass in the grounds of the castle, his adopted children nestling by his side.

A member of staff said: “They are getting very mischievous even hitching a ride on his back and following him into the water for a swim in the castle moat.”

Mountfitchet Castle is a Norman Motte and Bailey castle, built of wood.

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

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