A hen has astonished its owners on a Shropshire farm – by taking a litter of puppies under its wing.
Mabel took a shine to the pups and now keeps them warm by roosting on top of them in their dog basket.
Owners Edward and Ros Tate, of Shrewsbury, said she waited until the puppies’ mother, Nettle, left them before hopping into the basket to keep them warm.
Nettle is now left out in the cold – pining for her puppies in the yard – as they nest with their adopted mother.
Mr Tate, 43, said: “We were amazed when we first it happen – my 13-year-old daughter first saw it happen and called us to come and have a look. And when we saw Mabel here roosting on the pups – we just laughed.
“Nettle was a bit startled to say the least – but she didn’t mind too much eventually. She’s happy to have a helping pair of wings.
“We’re hoping that soon Mabel will have her own chicks to look after but I don’t think Nettle will be returning the favour when that happens.”
And he added: “Mabel was hatched here about a year ago. She would have gone onto someone’s dinner plate but we saved her and brought her into the house.
“And then we had puppies about three weeks ago. Mabel observed Nettles behaviour and, as soon as there was a chance, she hopped into the dog basket to roost on the pups. She keeps them and herself warm, while Nettle is outside on the yard.
“It was within a week Mabel was jumping in the box with them and brooding over them. She took to them like they were her own chicks.”