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"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. 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."
A hen is said to have adopted a litter of puppies and is treating the pups like they are her own.
Mabel, a one-year-old hen, took a shine to the pups at a farm in Shrewsbury and keeps them warm by roosting on top of them in their dog basket.
Her owners, Edward and Ros Tate, said she waited until the puppies' mother, Nettle, left them before hopping into the basket to keep them warm.
"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," the Telegraph quoted Edward, 43, of The Isle at Bicton Heath, Shropshire, as saying.
"Unfortunately, she got into an accident with a horse, which accidentally trod on her foot. Because of that, she gets terribly cold during the winter so we decided to bring 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.
"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 were amazed when we first saw it happen - my 13-year-old daughter first saw it and called us to come and have a look. And when we saw Mabel here roosting on the pups - we just laughed.
"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," he added.
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