It seems guess the best thing to do is simply try your best to eliminate all the problems you can, try to provide the ideal conditions, and leave the rest up to God... and Ol' Murphy.
I'm frustrated now over the recent loss of one of our new-hatched ducklings. One of my Khakis hatched out 4 adorable lil' fuzzy ducklings, they're so cute to see paddling around their pool with their tiny webby feet we call them The Tub Toys. Most of our other ducklings were incubator-hatched or hatchery buys so it's a rare treat to see newborn baby ducklings swimming around.
The last time I had a Mama duck I let her continue to stay in the nest she built in the front yard after her 2 ducklings hatched. But something killed one of them overnight, and the drake kept biting the other one.
So this time I determined to provide a safer place for the Mama duck & her babes. I keep them in a dog crate in the duck's yard at night, and let them out after all the other ducks leave their houses and go out of their duck yard to free-range the rest of the day. That way they have the whole duck yard and pool to themselves for the day, and I shoo them back into the dog crate at night before we let the rest of the ducks back in.
It sounds like a wonderful plan, doesn't it? Except...
...it seems that the Mama duck stepped on one of her ducklings while in the crate & killed it!
I'm not sure, but it was just dead & cold with its neck bent back at the back of the dog crate. It's a rather large crate with plenty of room for them all, but this ducky just must have not been able to move fast enough away from its Mama's feet. Poor lil' Tub Toy.
Who knows? It could have been a quitter anyway, with some lack of internal strength & would have died anyway. But after taking all these measures to try & insure their safety it's extra sad to have lost one anyway.
I'm not writing this to garner sympathy as much as to reassure others. Poop happens when you keep poultry. Both the stuff that sticks to your shoes and the stuff that happens despite your best efforts.