An elderly dog became a stay-at-home dad for nine ducklings following their mother's sudden disappearance.
After their mother vanished on Thursday, Fred the Labrador took the baby orphans under his paw.
Resident pet at Mountfitchet Castle close to Stansted, Essex, the 10-year-old puppy resides in the estate where a staff member discovered the tiny siblings wondering around the battlement area.
Members of staff that were located at the well-known tourist attraction asserted that they were concerned about the ducklings, though Fred was taken by them straight away and began parenting them ever since.
The director of Mountfitchet Castle, Jeremy Goldsmith, said: 'We knew the mother duck was nesting and then suddenly these ducklings appeared but she was nowhere to be seen.
Fred the Labrador with his adopted duckling brood at their castle home close to Stansted.
The 10-year-old Labrador, Fred, has claimed the little ducklings after they had been orphaned, and staff saw them waddling around the grounds by themselves.
Fred's owner, Jeremy, said:
'We think it was possibly a fox.'
He added, 'Fred has got an absolutely wonderful nature. They absolutely love him.'
Cute photos reveal Fred lying across the grass in the castle's grounds, with his adopted ducklings lying by his side.
In one picture, the nine sisters and brothers appear to be sitting on his back.
'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.', said one member of staff.
A castle spokeswoman said: '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'
A member of staff at Mountfitchet Castle stated: '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'
Fred rests beside the baby ducklings in the castle's grounds. The owner of Fred has talked about how the dog has a caring and soft nature. Nestled up against their newfound parent, the ducklings have rejected the prospect of leaving the dogs side since he swept them up. The baby ducklings rest in Fred's basket and have even stole a ride on his back and chased him into the water for a castle moat paddle! 🦆💦