This is my homemade incubator. Most of the supplies were found in my garage or attic.
Supplies for Incubator:
- old Styrofoam cooler
- work light
- 60 watt light bulb (not vanity!!! I tried to use a 40 watt vanity light bulb and I only most burnt the house down!)
- chicken wire
- mason jars (for a heat sink)
- sponge (for humidity)
- piece of glass (from an old picture)
- tin foil
Supplies for egg turner:
- egg cartons
- duct tape
I spent only $10 on supplies.
After I cleaned out the cooler, I cut the towel to cover about 3/4 of the bottom of the cooler. Then I closed off the rest with chicken wire.
Next, I put in the light and drilled ventilation holes in the sides.
I had planned to turn the eggs by hand, but after days of testing I found that too much heat and humidity escaped every time I opened the lid. So I built an egg turner.
I am setting five eggs so I only cut six cups out of the egg carton. I then drilled holes on either side of the cooler and slid the stick through. It took a lot of duct tape but I soon had the egg carton taped to the stick.
I set cardboard egg carton underneath the turner to rest on when it is turned to the side. I also found that the temperature stayed the same though out the incubator if there is a little bit of tin foil in front of the light.
Next came the lid. I cut a hole just big enough so that you can look in to see the eggs hatching but it still covers up the light. My brother put the glass in the lid. Honestly, I don't know how he did it.
Finally, I put it all together. On both sides of the light I set a small mason jar filled with water. They will be used as heat sinks. I left the light on for a day and found that the metal on the lid of the jars were resting on the Styrofoam and burned it. So I put a piece of chicken wire beneath the light and the jars. I also put wet sponges inside for humidity.
For lock down, I made ventilation holes right above the sponges so that I could put water in without opening the lid. I stuck straws in the holes and bent them so that they were above the sponges. I hold the funnel above the top of the straws and pour the water in. I works really well as long as I only put a little bit of water in at once.
I replaced the egg cartons under the turner with towels because they were getting too wet from the humidity.
The Finished project!
I got the temperature to stay at 99 degrees by putting a piece of Styrofoam over part of the glass. The humidity is at 40 with only half of a wet sponge in the incubator. I plan to put the other half in for lock down so that it goes up to 80.
I just finish my first hatch using this incubator.
I set 5 eggs
1 was infertile
2 were early deaths
2 were late deaths - one was smooshed by its saddle shaped air cell and the other was shrink wrapped
I am very sad to say that my hatch rate was 0%. Many things could have been the cause of this.
- the eggs were from a hatchery
- the eggs were shipped
- I forgot to calibrate my hygrometer ( I will calibrate it before I hatch again)
- because I did not calibrate my hygrometer I was not very confident in it. Therefore I kept bringing the humidity up and down and it was not steady
- I had a problem with mold in the incubator (I will be using a mat instead of a towel next time)
- I candled way too much (next time I will only candle on day 10 and day 18)
- I opened the incubator during lock down ( Next time I will keep it closed during lock down)
- when they did not hatch on day 21 I took them out the next day to candle and tap ( next time I will wait until day 25 before taking them out)
I am very sorry that these were my results. I am also sorry if anyone was planning on making their incubator like mine. Please be aware of my results before imitating this incubator. However I am not ready to give up. I will be incubating again with this incubator in the future.