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Is There a Way to Make a Very Simple Incubator? What Would I Need?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 


So, basically, I'm considering trying to incubate a few chicks to add to my flock this spring, especially a few bantams to ideally befriend my only bantam (my other bantam, her friend, passed away about a month ago). I don't have an incubator, and can't really invest in one. However, I've been looking around at different homemade incubators and thought I might be able to rig up one of those. I only want to set six or so eggs (I'll be happy with just one pullet, and I know I'll probably also end up with a roo or two). As I'm looking for such a small amount of chicks, I'm really hoping that I could rig something with just the materials I already have;

  • 1 chick heat lamp
  • 1 small heater (Could this be used like a fan?)
  • Sponges
  • Boxes- plastic, cardboard, ect.
  • Baking trays
  • Tinfoil (I have no idea why I'm listing this)
  • Other miscellaneous household appliances/ trinkets

I don't know if any f these things might be helpful, and I know that I need to purchase a thermometer and humidity measure, but I thought that I could probably rig something up. Would a plastic bin work as a base, with the heat lamp for heat, heater for heat and to move the air, and trays of water/ containers with sponges for humidity work? I know that after I set something up, I would need to monitor it to make sure that it was constant for a few days before I put any eggs in.

Thanks for any advice!



Side note: I'm away from my house during the day, and don't have someone that could turn them for me while I was gone (From 7:30 to ~5:00). Instead of turning my eggs during the day, could I do it at night? Say, once right when I get home, once right before bed, once or twice in the middle of the night, once when I wake up, and once right before I leave? Will that work, or do they have t be turned during the day?


Thank you! :D

post #2 of 7

Well if you want 3 hens, it is best to set 6-7 eggs. They have alot of do-it yourself incubator designs on the internet. I have used cardbord boxes.. This would only work good in a house that has 70 tem that doesn't go up and down and not near any windows or drafts. and cats will sit on an incubator if it is warm and that would over heat it... so keep those things in mind.


have a clamp lamp with a 15 w bulb, and a small heat shield, or don't use the heat shield and place bulb on a foiled bottomed, or place a metal bowl in a box 8''x9''x10'' put slit down one clamp side of lamp outside of the box...

see how the lamp doesn't touch the wall of the box... don't freak out too much because 15 w doen't get too hot.


Above the lamp, but not touching the lamp. poke skewers through box....

add mesh wire...must be edge to edge... so chicks do not fall through, and don't let eggs touch sides of the box.


eggs go on other side of the box from heat. put on a thermometer on top of the eggs. even though it looks like you can fit more eggs in this bator best 6 or less to keep from heat. 

Make a separate glass lid, only lift this to turn eggs.(needs a larger opening than this but you get the idea) have the flap glass lid positioned aimed at you so when you turn eggs it is easier. Turn Am, evening and before bed. 3-5 good enough. make a few air holes. this incubator is best still air 102, and dry hatch, look into dry hatch. If you don't want to dry hatch do not make this incubator. Dry hatch until day 11 or so then a very small dish, (tea light dish) until lock down. (first pip, or day 19) then ad a sponge or damp paper towel to incubator. do not candle but on days 7, 14, 18. then leave be, do not try and help eggs if they have pipped. they will take their sweet time. (lock down means don't touch. :)

also it is important to keep these away from a cold out side wall and to run for 24 hrs to make sure temp is even. If you feel the need you can put blankets around to keep it a bit warm, or place in a larger cardboard box with out a lid, try some things., but find a way that the temp will always be even. experiment with inexpensive eggs. to cool the bator, if you make your outer lid tight enough, you can raise it creating more space and that will cool the bator, or you can try and poke the skewers higher up in the incubator to find yous sweet spot, this is why you test run it for 24hrs. to figure out hat works.


Good luck.

Edited by gimmie birdies - 1/18/16 at 2:49pm
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for the tutorial! This is really helpful, and as soon as I pick up my thermometer than I'll try to copy you :) Again, I really appreciate the help :D

Have a nice day! I can't wait to be able to set some eggs :ya

post #4 of 7

The incubator above works best in the summer. 

I made this smaller incubator, because I didn't want to make a big styro cooler one, and wanted to use less heat. I did add a few more notes to the above bator, so re-read before your build.



currently I am hatching in this incubator I made. it is a much larger box 18x18, but much more insulated. so I still use a 15w bulb.


Edited by gimmie birdies - 1/18/16 at 2:50pm
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you! I have a few questions, which are probably really obvious, but I've never incubated before so :rolleyes:

1) Is there any fire danger with cardboard? I don't think so, I just wanted to know if you've had any problems

2) What were the dimensions of the first box? I have two options- an 18 x 18 x 26 and a 12 x 16 x 18 (roughly) Which of these is better

Thank you SO much for the plans and help- I'm building mine right now trying to copy you exactly :D 

Best of luck with your hatch! Which breed are you incubating now?


post #6 of 7

your boxes are big, the foil and heat shields help keep things safe. if you go bigger just use a cooler, try and figure out how to suspend the eggs over the lamp with out touching. heat rises. if you do a cooler, if it is a regular cooler I would go with a 25 wat bulb, but get both and test out what size is good. 


This is going on in my winter box, below is a green egg with pip.


and a just hatched chick.

post #7 of 7

If you do try other sizes of boxes, just remember you are no longer doing my design you are just getting ideas. I have made many incubators so let me know how you have set up your box, I will still give you tips.

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