Babies of any species are especially cute— but there’s something just overwhelmingly adorable about a fuzzy duckling.
Unfortunately, right from the get-go, ducklings have a few dangers to contend with. Male ducks (or drakes) are often aggressive, so a mother duck’s first concern is finding a safe place away from male-filled lakes or ponds. Then, the mother must make sure her babies aren’t eaten by dangerous predators like snakes, raccoons, foxes, or eagles.
In addition to basic protection, ducklings also rely on their mothers to teach them vital skills, like what kinds of food to eat and how to swim. For the most part, these adorable duck babies require constant care until they are two months old.
Sadly, however, nine adorable ducklings in Essex were abandoned by their mother and at the mercy of the environment around them.
The ducklings were discovered wandering the grounds of Mountfitchet Castle, a tourist attraction in Stansted, UK. Staff was walking the grounds when they came across the ducklings outside. In a Facebook post, employees explained:
“The duckling’s mum had disappeared and a member of staff found them waddling around the castle grounds alone.”
A spokesperson from the castle told BBC that employees were “very worried” when the ducklings’ mother disappeared, and the whole even left the babies “looking a bit lost.”
To be fair, it’s unclear if the ducklings were abandoned or orphaned. Like dogs, it’s not rare for a mother duck to abandon a baby she believes to be injured or sick. However, abandoning an entire group of babies seems to be rarer. Regardless of the reason, one thing was for certain: the babies were alone and needed help— that’s where Fred stepped in.
Fred is an adorable, 10-year-old Labrador that lives at the Mountfitchet Castle.
It’s not rare to see animals roaming the property, and Fred is just one of the rescues that call the castle home— but staff agrees Fred is the “resident dog”. In an interview with CBS News, Jeremy Goldsmith, Fred’s owner, described his dog, saying:
“He’s got a lovely nature and has grown up around rescued animals.”
When staff saw the ducks, they immediately brought them inside, knowing the babies wouldn’t be able to make it on their own. “We brought the ducklings into the house as they are too young to fend for themselves,” Goldsmith explained. But from there, something amazing happened.
When Fred laid eyes on the ducklings, he immediately fell in love and decided to adopt them as his own.
“Fred just took them under his paw— rather than his wing” said Goldsmith.
Now, Fred and the ducklings spend every day together. The babies love cuddling in his fur for warmth and riding on his back.
Because his ducklings need lots of water, Fred takes them swimming in the castle’s moat, too.
“They absolutely adore him, and he has now resigned himself to being a stay-at-home dad looking after the nine baby ducklings.”
When staff shared photos of Fred and his ducklings online, the internet went wild.
Their post read: “Fred 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.”
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
“Saw this great video of Fred and his ducklings in Canada on our national weather network internet site! love it!” Dana Shaw commented.
“We live in Phoenix, Arizona – USA. There was a piece on our news tonight about his Fred and his ducklings!
See it for yourself below!
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Source: CNN via Tout