Pub landlord Jason Kibble is ‘mum’ to four ducks that he’s released into the wild on the River Welland in Spalding.
Jason, who runs The White Horse Inn with his husband, Sean, was concerned to see wild bird numbers dwindling on the river – and took matters into his own hands by ordering clutches of eggs from eBay.
First a mallard and then three Muscovy ducks emerged from their shells in an incubator placed in an upstairs room at the pub.
Once they were big enough, Jason put his young charges in man-made duck heaven – their own little compound complete with a paddling pool – and released them into the river three weeks ago.
Jason said at first the ducklings thought he was their mum and followed him everywhere, but he kept on putting more distance between himself and them and now they have bonded as a little family unit in their own right.
He bought the eggs from eBay three months ago and released the birds three weeks ago, once their wings were fully feathered and they could fly.
“I still wander round there just to make sure they are all right,” said Jason.
Last summer there was a group of 15 ducks on the river near the pub but Jason said numbers “went down to one within a week or two weeks”.
He said: “People were saying people were nicking them but I don’t quite know what went on with them.
“It’s just what everyone says. I know the police thought that was happening as well.”
Jason said ducks make a big difference to the atmosphere on and around the river and he quite likes to see cars stopping to allow them to cross the road.
He ordered “quite a lot of eggs” for £20, but it turned out that not all of them were fertile.
Jason hopes to do the same next year, although he says it’s quite time consuming even when the birds are in their shells because the eggs need turning at least three times a day.
He said: “I want to do it again because I enjoyed it.”
The regulars are also keeping an eye on the ducks as they enjoy life in the river.
Pub customers are not going to let that ‘mum’ nickname die out any time soon.
Jason said: “I am like that here.
“Everyone calls me ‘mum’ because I mother everyone.”