Modern family: Hen hatches ducklings instead of chicks

April 10, 2012 at 3:02 PM ET

BNPS.co.uk /
They may not look the same, or sound the same, but this mama hen and her ducklings are one happy family!

After sitting on a nest of eggs for a month, Hilda the hen got one wing-raising surprise. Instead of  five cute chicks, the eggs hatched to reveal  five fluffy ducklings! Despite the shock, Hilda was immediately in mommy mode, adopting the ducklings and treating them as her own.

“It was so surprising but lovely and she has proved to be very capable at raising them,” Philip Palmer, owner of the English farm where Hilda lives, told The Daily Mail. “Hilda doesn’t seem bothered at all — the ducklings follow her around just as chicks would.”

Palmer said the ducklings stay close to their "mom" and aren’t aware she’s any different from them. She isn’t quite aware the ducklings aren’t her own either.

“It is very sweet to see. The only way they will really notice the difference is when the ducks start swimming in the pond,” Palmer said.

Take a look at more adorable photos of hen mother and her ducklings below!

BNPS.co.uk /
Hilda immediately adopted the Indian runner ducklings when they emerged from their eggs.
BNPS.co.uk /
Philip Palmer, owner of the farm where Hilda and her ducklings reside, was none the wiser that his hen had sat on the wrong nest of eggs!
BNPS.co.uk /
"The ducklings don't leave her side and if they get scared they run for cover under their 'mum'," Palmer told The Daily Mail.
This was posted by TODAY.com producer Lisa Granshaw. She couldn't help but "awww" when she saw these photos and read this unique family's story!