You’d be forgiven for thinking that chickens and dogs were not natural bed fellows. But a one-year-old hen that thinks it’s a dog has adopted a litter of puppies, much to the bemusement of their canine mother.

Mabel has taken to keeping the small dogs warm by snuggling up to them while their mother, Nettle, sits out in the yard at a farm in Shrewsbury.

Owners Edward and Ros Tate saved Mabel from the pot and now the hen has taken to roosting on the litter of puppies. Mr Tate said: “Mabel was hatched here about a year ago. She would have gone onto someone’s dinner plate but we saved her.

“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.

“Our dog, Nettle, gave birth to a litter of pups. Within a few days of giving birth, Nettle was up and about, prowling in the yard. Mabel observed Nettle’s 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.”

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