After having chickens off and on the last few years, I'm considering getting into the hatching world, just to keep my flock full and help out friends when they want a few chicks. And of course, to enjoy the process and grow to appreciate chickens even more.
Anyway, I have decided to go with a styrofoam DIY incubator. Got the cooler today from Petco...for free. So there's a tip for newbies: you can get a decent-sized styrofoam cooler for free from your local petstore. Very cool.
Now that I've given a tip, I'm hoping for some help in return.
That said, I'm pretty settled on getting an IncuKit Mini (http://incubatorwarehouse.com/48-watt-incukit-dc.html), as it is so easy to hook up and all that jazz. Plus it has the thermostat, fan, and heater in one package. Can't beat that. The only thing I'm missing is some humidity. I know I'll need a humidistat in there and will want to keep the humidity between 30 and 35 (or 40 and 50, depending on who you ask, it seems) the first first 18 days then knock it up to 60 or 65. But in this homemade incubator, how do I get the humidity to increase or decrease?
If I've read the posts on here right and the YouTube tutorials are correct, seems all I have to do is toss a sponge in the incubator with a little water on it. Need more humidity? Put a little more water on the sponge. Is this correct? If yes, and if I get it to the right humidity level, how long will that humidity level hold until I need to add more water for maintenance? I realize this time period will change. Just curious about how often to do it. And if all you do is put a sponge in, I plan to put it in there inside a small tupperware dish - just big enough to fit the sponge. Then I will drill out a little hole through which I can squirt more water on the sponge to increase humidity as needed.
Speaking of holes, how many holes should there be in this li'l incubator? Does location of the holes matter?
Also, I've seen many places to turn the eggs every four hours. I probably won't have an auto egg turner, so I'll be doing it by hand for now. Only problem: I'm away from the house at work all day. I saw you can just turn them every 8 hours, which is doable for me. Will that be sufficient? And if they're lying on their side, does "turning them" just mean rolling them a quarter or half turn every 8 (or 4 if required) hours?
Think that's all my questions right now. If there is a thread that addresses the humidity question, please point me to it. I found lots of info on humidity, but they all seemed to assume a) the person they were talking to knew how to get the water in there correctly or b) they were using a premade incubator with places for filling with water.