On first impression, Richard Daiker doesn't seem the nurturing type. The 61-year-old president of K&S Insurance can come across as a tough guy.

Photos by JUAN GARCIA/DMNRichard Daiker says he is just being practical in his efforts to assist a duck family of 12, but the staff at his insurance office in Rockwall thinks the ducklings have found his soft spot.

But for a family of 12 that's taken up residence in a detention ditch outside his office, he's become a surrogate father - one who's making sure their every need is met.

"I saw the mama duck and the daddy in the parking lot a few times, but I didn't think anything of it," said Mr. Daiker, whose office is on Justin Road in Rockwall. "But when I came back after the Fourth of July weekend, there were these little ducklings ... 10 in all."

As a solution, Mr. Daiker's landscaper, Jose Ballesteros, brought in a plastic wading pool. He used bags of peat moss to anchor the pool and provided a plywood ramp so the ducklings could easily get in and out.

"Different employees bring in bread, and the ladies in the office like to give me instructions on how to feed them and take care of them," said Mr. Daiker, whose staff has taken to calling him Daddy Duck. "We come out in the morning to feed them; then we can look at them through the windows all day long, and we check on them again before we go home. Sometimes people stop to look at them, but we've got pretty tight security. The ladies will watch to make sure everything's OK."

Staff members even drop in on days off to check on the ducklings. "I brought my little boy up, and we fed them over the weekend," said Cliff Craddock. "It's really an office affair."

Mr. Daiker said the mama duck is very protective of her feathered family. "The father comes every once in a while, but he takes off," Mr. Daiker said. "You know how men are."

"I figured we'd lose one or two, but they've all lived," he said. "They're safe in there, and I think they're pretty happy. ... They're not enduring many hardships."

"I'm not a duckologist; I'm just a caretaker," he said. "I'm just trying to figure out how long we're going to have to be doing this before they learn how to fly. It may be more of an undertaking than we thought."

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