A dog named Fred has adopted a brood of orphaned ducklings for the second time.

The 15-year-old Labrador has ended up the carer for the group of ducklings after the mother duck disappeared one night while on her nest in Stansted Mountfitchet.

The ducklings were found at Mountfitchet Castle where Fred lives.

The staff of the Norman Castle all hope the mother returns to her ducklings very soon.

In the meantime, Fred stepped in to mother all 15 ducklings just as he did five years ago when he adopted another group of duckling orphans.

Staff member, Lauren Jackson, said: “Fred still has the same wonderful nurturing spirit to take on 15 ducklings although this time with help from members of staff at the Norman Village and Castle.”

Owner, Jeremy Goldsmith, is not surprised by Fred’s loving nature as being among the animals at Mountfitchet Castle has become second nature to him.