Late afternoon... time to go out and do chores, check on the waterers, no biggie. Then I walk into the chicken run and see a dead duckling on the ground. Oh boy.
We had a broody duck sitting on five Muscovy duck eggs. In the morning, two of them had hatched. I was waiting for all five to hatch, then I'd move them, along with the mother duck, out into the brooder. Normally when we move them early (before all of the ducks have hatched) the broody duck will no longer sit on the eggs.
But back to present time - the afternoon, the dead duckling. The second duckling was MIA, the broody duck was outside trying to figure out what happened to her ducklings, and the other three were trying to hatch, but now they were cold and dried up in the eggs.
So we had to act quickly... move them inside, heat them up, add moisture, and try to get them out alive. They were barely moving this point, as it was less than 50° in the coop, and I was afraid they would never get out. So I started to do what you should pretty much never do - help them hatch. When doing this, you can cause bleeding and cause them to die. Or if you do it too late, they'll be too weak and die.
Through some careful egg peeling, we got two of the ducklings out. Back into the incubator to heat them up and dry them off. The last egg was barely starting to pip. So I left it alone to see if it would keep going and hatch on its own.
After two more days, the last egg hatched, and we had three ducklings out safely and starting to gain their strength. Whew!