An unconventional family has been formed at Mountfitchet Castle, a tourist attraction near Essex, England. Fred the dog didn’t think twice about adopting nine ducklings when they were discovered on the property and their mother was nowhere in sight. The 10-year-old labrador, known as the castle’s “resident dog,” is just one of many rescued animals that reside there.

Fred took the ducklings under his care as if they were his own, and the tiny birds just love riding on Fred’s back. Because ducks need to swim, Fred often visits the castle’s moat with them.

Fred’s owner, Jeremy Goldsmith, isn’t surprised that Fred took on the responsibility of being the ducklings’ adoptive father, stating “he’s got a lovely nature and has grown up around rescued animals.”