I decided to give making my own incubator a try. I talked to a vet that is a customer of mine and she offered up one of her styrofoam containers. While I was looking around the garage trying to find other possible components to an incubator, I found this...
...a beat-up old cigar humidor from a defunct company. Since it is designed to hold humidity, what could be better for hatching duck eggs?
I cleaned it up and gather some items I had laying around the house...
- An extension cord with a round housing with a screw that extended out the back - perfect for mounting on a side wall.
- A plug with a light bulb screw-in on the other end.
- A couple of sponges.
- A metal bookend...this was given an extra bend and it will be used to cover the light bulb
I had to buy...
- Some shelf liner for the bottom
- A hot water heater thermostat
- A temperature gauge
- a 60 watt light bulb
I still need
- A fan of some sort. With all the pieces/parts I have laying around from various computer, you think I would have one...but nooooo!
- A hygrometer. I had one of these 2 weeks ago. Hubby moved it and put it somewhere safe. I have no idea where it is now and neither does he.
Even though I am missing a few parts, I did hook everything up and plug it in...
The whole shebangbang
The light fixture and the book end bulb guard. There is a gap that will have to be covered before any hatching, but it will work fine for starters.
Paper clips are employed as a hot water heater thermostat hanger so I don't have to drill anymore holes in the acrylic. The standard "Miss Prissy" wiring method was used to attach the water heater thermostat to the light.
You can see the little pocket on the right for water. The section behind that holding the sponges has ventilation holes in to the main compartment yet still allows some water in the bottom. It didn't take long for that 70 to turn to a 103.
I left it running overnight and the temperature swings are pretty big...from 103 down to 90. When I adjusted the water heater knob, it went from 93 down to 85. I think this is a good indication that I can't use this as a still air incubator and I have to get my butt in gear and find some sort of fan. Since the chance finding hubby's hiding place for the hygrometer is slim to none, I will have to get one of those too. At this point I am just glad the electrical is working. Now I am off to Lowe's to get more stuff.
I let it run for a couple of days. Getting the humidy up has been a challenge, but in Colorado, that will ALWAYS be an issue. The temp were also swinging wildly. I can't put eggs in this thing without a fan.
I used an old promtional fan to see if that would work, but it was a very low voltage fan hooked up to 6 v cord. I burned it out in about an hour. Fortunately a quick trip to the thrift store solved my fan problem. I found a camping fan with a light in it. Removing the light assembly and wiring in to the 6v power supply worked great. It fits in the bottom section flat and still leaves room for some extra sponge sections. I let it run for a few more days and the temps and humidity are better.
Condensation is turning out to be a problem. The moisture is condensing on the lid instead of staying dispursed through the air. Looks like I will have to insulate. I happen to have a knitting project on hand that will wrap perfectly around the outside edges and then I can use some old towels for the top (leaving a space for the air hole of course). Yes, I knit an incubator cozy :D