Fred the Labrador Retriever just can’t get enough of fostering orphaned ducklings. The 15-year-old dog is taking care of 15 orphaned ducklings after they appeared on the grounds at Mountfitchet Castle in England where he lives without their mother. It’s the third time Fred has fostered ducklings, the last times being back in 2018 when he fostered 9 ducklings and then in 2019 when he took 7 ducklings “under his wing.”
Fred is a resident at the medieval castle in Essex, which is a popular tourist destination and heritage site. Back in 2018, Jeremy Goldsmith, director of Mountfitchet Castle and owner of Fred, said that he suspected a fox of snatching the ducklings’ mom. But he was very happy that “doting Fred” enjoys taking care of the orphans. He told the Sun UK at the time, “Fred has got an absolutely wonderful nature. They absolutely love him.”
“He’s quite content to have the ducklings climb all over him,” Mountfitchet Castle wrote on their Facebook page and shared several adorable photos of the senior dog with his new charges.
“Our little dogfather has been giving the ducklings a little ride round the garden today in the sunshine.”
In 2019, after a a Muscovy duck with 14 babies abandoned 7 of her young, Fred immediately stepped forward to care for them. The Castle described how quickly both dog and ducklings bonded in a Facebook post: “So only this morning, as soon as Fred was shown the little ducklings all huddled together, he instantly lay down around them to keep them warm much to the delight of the Castle’s owner and staff, who breathed a huge sigh of relief when they knew that dear old Fred was willing to step in.”
They added, “He took to his role like a duck to water” and “within minutes the ducklings accepted their odd looking new mum and were climbing all over him.”
Now several years on, it seems Fred has not lost any of his “duck whisperer” touch or his fatherly love for his wee foster ducklings.