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First time hatching - home-made incubator

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Hello! First post here!
Well I'm finally in place to be able to have a small backyard flock after not having my own chickens for several years. I've raised from chicks in the past but I got it into my head that this time I wanted to try my hand at hatching my own eggs. Long story short I also decided to make my own incubator as well. I started with a styrofoam cooler heated from the bottom by a reptile heat mat and from the top by a low wattage light bulb both regulated by a horticultural thermostat controller with an analog temp/hygrometer inside the bator to monitor humidity. It seems to keep everything at an even temperature.
post #2 of 36
Good luck on your hatch. .have you checked out all the cooler incubator threads?

Post pics. We'd all love to see
post #3 of 36
Thread Starter 
I'll post some pics soon. I wasn't planning on jumping into actually starting to incubate anything before the new year but I saw an auction on eBay for six Americana eggs so I placed a bid.... and then I was given 6 quail eggs from a local breeder. I ended up winning the bid so now I have six beautiful blue eggs and six tiny spotted ones and I'm trying to figure out the best way to keep them both happy. Any tips?
Edited by Plucky Clucks - 12/22/15 at 9:45pm
post #4 of 36

I made my current incubator, I can fit more eggs in in one shot, but 6 is a good number for my hand turn box cooler bator. Below you see 7 eggs on wire that is suspended over a lamp 15 w. Still air 102 is best. Room temp 70.

below is the box from the outside 18''x18'' I only access the eggs through the glass window. the lid is always on, the box edges are not sealed, the windowed door also lets in air, so I don't need holes. 



below with the blanket and lid off we see a clamp lamp with heat shield, on foil, again I only need a 15w bulb, the wire basket under the mesh wire hold up the mesh. mesh is edge to edge so chicks cannot fall through. heat rises the eggs do not go directly over lamp. eggs do not touch walls when in incubator. 


for water I only need a small dish I put in a penny from before 1982 copper sterlizes water. after first pip, I do add sponge.


chicks come out nice and moist

Since Feb I have had 10 separate hatches, 63 live chicks, and only 4 quitters (that I recall). and the quitters were from fridge.

Here are the eggs just placed, yes the one to the far right is gray.

Edited by gimmie birdies - 12/23/15 at 4:24pm
post #5 of 36
Thread Starter 

Wow! Looks great. Wish I would have taken some pictures before I got mine up and going. I found a computer fan on amazon that hooked straight into a USB outlet instead of needing to be wired in manually and has an integrated speed control. It arrived yesterday and I popped it in. Works great on low to move the air gently. I keep my setup on top of my washer, there are no windows in the room and an independent thermostat and heater. Here's a few pics I just snapped. One of the eggs came in very rough shape. You can see I tried to seal it with wax but I'm not sure it will make it. However today is day 4 and I saw veins when I candled! Not sure the quail eggs are even fertile. The breeder said they were but I'm not seeing any signs of life. The others however are very promising! So excited! 

The top window has a piece of glass attached from the bottom of the lid so that the insert can be replaced to avoid heat loss. Works great. The flashlight is my Twinlight I am using to candle. 


The red strap was the handle that came in the cooler. I popped it off and repurchased it to prop up the light in the middle of the bator add well as keeping the temp probe towards the middle. Seems to keep the most consistent temp this way instead of keeping it fff to the side 

This fan is different from others, it doesn't need to be spaced away from the wall, it has a turbine design. 

Edited by Plucky Clucks - 12/23/15 at 7:16pm
post #6 of 36
Thread Starter 

I love those egg colors! Definitely want to incorporate colors in my flock. 

post #7 of 36

Thanks. Lots of fun...

post #8 of 36
Thread Starter 

Day 5!

post #9 of 36

nice, I am on day 16 with 3 eggs and day 2 with others



post #10 of 36
Thread Starter 
Awesome! I'm really disappointed with my quail eggs through. 11 days and no real signs of life. Oh well
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