Black-billed whistling ducklings seem to feel safe under the pair of Ostrich feather dusters

By Amy Jamieson
Updated September 25, 2009 04:00 PM

Three abandoned black-billed whistling ducklings who live at the Chester Zoo in Chester, England, are receiving motherly love from a very, um, unlikely surrogate: a pair of feather dusters. When the duckling’s mother abandoned their eggs in the nest the zoo’s bird team came up with the idea to use two cleaning tools they picked up in South Africa as replacements. “They are sheltering underneath it,” Rachael Ashton, a spokeswoman at the zoo, tells PEOPLE Pets. “They find it reassuring.”

Zookeepers aren’t sure why the mother abandoned her eggs, but it seems the young ducklings feel protected underneath the Ostrich feather dusters. “The three shelter together,” says Ashton. “They hide underneath and peak out.”