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Cute Animals

Rescued Duck Returns to Adoptive Home with 11 Ducklings of Her Own



Quick Smiles:

  • Phil and Julia Garner from West Yorkshire, England, adopted a lost duckling named Freda and hand-reared her. After a while, Freda decided to return to the wild but came back in the spring with 11 ducklings of her own.
  • The Garners, who had a deep bond with Freda, willingly took in the entire feathered family and made arrangements for their care, turning their garden into a mini duck haven.
  • Julia believes that Freda, who was with Phil during his tough times battling bladder cancer, acted as a “guardian angel.” The couple plans to host the duck family until they’re ready to leave, or relocate them to a local park with adequate protection and resources.

The bond between humans and animals can be heartwarming and profound, just like the story of Freda the duck and Phil Garner from West Yorkshire, England.

Phil discovered a lone duckling, Freda, near his home in April 2021 and spent fruitless hours searching for her parents.

Unable to locate them, Phil and his wife Julia decided to rear the helpless duckling themselves.

Freda grew up under the doting care of the Garners, developing a deep affection for Phil.

However, in October 2022, Freda decided it was time to take flight and return to the wild.

Phil confessed it was a bit sad when she first left, but he had a feeling she would return, as ducks imprint on those they perceive as their parents for life.

His hunch proved to be right when, in spring, Freda returned to the Garners’ home.


This time, she was not alone. Freda waddled up their driveway followed by 11 adorable ducklings of her own!


The Garners were more than happy to look after the entire feathered family.

“Going from one duckling to 11 was chaos,” said Phil, mentioning the tubs scattered around their garden for the ducklings to swim and clean themselves.

Phil’s bond with Freda is quite special.

“She would sit on my shoulder and on my table while I was doing my computer work. She was that loving,” he recalled.

Julia considers Freda as Phil’s “guardian angel”, as Phil was undergoing treatment for bladder cancer, including three operations, when Freda first came into their lives.


She believes Freda helped Phil through this tough time.

Phil and Julia plan to host Freda and her brood until they’re ready to embark on their own journey.

If the feathered family doesn’t leave after a few months, the Garners will relocate them to a local park with a fenced pond, ensuring their protection and access to food and water.

But no matter where they end up, Freda and her family will always have a special place in the Garners’ hearts.