Three lucky ducklings who were raised by a cat on a farm in Clara Co Offaly have now grown up but are still good friends with their foster family.
The ducks were born on a farm run by Ronan and Emma Lally. The couple had an impressive collection of animals but were keen to add some ducks to complete the idyllic picture.
One day, after purchasing some fertilised duck eggs, Ronan walked into the shed to find that the eggs had hatched. However, there were no ducklings in sight.
When the couple’s cat jumped into view, Ronan feared the worst. However, to their surprise, rather than harming the ducklings, the cat had taken them in and was caring for them as if they were her own.
Fortunately for the ducks, the cat had just given birth to a litter of kittens and had maternal hormones surging through her. She was protecting the ducklings and even feeding them along with their kitten foster-siblings.
Ronan was worried that once the cat’s maternal instincts died down her predatory instinct would take over. He wanted to separate the ducklings from the cats.
However, Emma, who works as a midwife, could see that the cat was loving the ducklings as her own and told Ronan that the bond shouldn’t be broken.
A year later the kittens were still growing but the ducks were fully mature. While they have grown up and gone their own way they still enjoy spending time with their feline family.