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Using an aquarium for an incubator?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

So I have an old ten gallon fish aquarium I was thinking of using as an incubator?  Should I use black spray paint on three sides (outside, of course) to help hold the heat in? Any tips on the best way to do this?  Oh and what kind of thermometer should I use? 

post #2 of 6
People have used aquariums as brooders but a 10 gallon one is pretty small, probably around 20” x 11” though they come in different dimensions. I don’t know how many chicks you are getting but it probably won’t take long before they outgrow that. Another problem is that it is difficult to keep them the right temperature. Too warm is just as dangerous as too cool, probably worse.

You can maybe handle that in something that small if you are brooding in your house, but in my mind the best brooder is one where you heat one area of the brooder warm enough and let the far side cool off a lot. I brood in my coop in a 3’ x 6’ brooder. Some mornings I find ice in the far end of the brooder but the area the chicks are in stays pretty toasty. That way they can self-regulate where they want to be and you don’t have to stress about keeping the entire brooder one perfect temperature. If I were you I’d look for something bigger. You will probably need something bigger pretty soon anyway.

You don’t have to be really precise in your measurements. In spite of that chart that shows 90 to 95 the first week and drop it 5 each week after, they really do great in a fairly wide range of temperatures. I suggest you get a cheap thermometer of the type you measure the outside temperature at a hardware store or big box store. When you get one, look at several and pay attention to the temperatures they are showing. I’ve seen some on the same shelf read several degrees off. Get one that is reading somewhere in the middle. That will be close enough.

A thermometer the first time or two you do this is a good idea, that will give you confidence and you need it right now. But most of us don’t use them after a couple of times brooding. We just watch the chicks. If they are huddling close to the heat source they are cold. If they are spread out as far from the heat source as they can get they are hot. Perfect is when they are wondering in and out of the cooler areas, just going back to the heat when they need to warm up. They will normally sleep in a group fairly near the heat source. That doesn’t mean they are cold, they like sleeping in a group for the company and that area is neither too warm nor too cool.

You can make your life a lot easier and less stressful by using something big enough and just heating one area. Let them do the work of finding the right comfort zone.

Good luck!

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Oh I meant just for hatching the eggs.  I have a large metal tub I use to raise the chicks in.  I have done that twice, now, but have never hatched my own fertilized eggs.  Thank you!

post #4 of 6
Sorry, I misread that. My fault.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

No problem. ;)

post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennn27 View Post
 

Oh I meant just for hatching the eggs.  I have a large metal tub I use to raise the chicks in.  I have done that twice, now, but have never hatched my own fertilized eggs.  Thank you!

Did you go ahead and try it? How'd it work?

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