I have been reading this forum and learned a great deal from everybody, so I thought I should share some idea I come up recently.
I bought an incubator last week and received some quail eggs this Monday, being without an egg turner and not wanting to take the hassle to open the incubator every time and manually turn eggs one by one, I made the following manual quick egg turner out of some scrap. It worked nicely for me so far, no need to open the incubator, and every time just need a few seconds to turn all 24 eggs I set.
Here is a picture of the top view:
And a picture of the side view:
How it works is, the two threads attached to the moving rack are led to outside the incubator. After the incubator are closed, I just grab on the two threads with both hands, and pull on both, then pulling from one side with a little more force. The rack will move to one side slowly, with all eggs inside being rolled towards that side. Next time I pull to the opposite side. Each turning takes less than 5 seconds.
I have been using this gadget to turn the eggs for the past week without any major problem. Only issue is occasionally an egg might be rolled to have larger side pointing down, and I'll need to open the incubator slightly to stick in my hand to correct it. But this only happens when eggs are crowded together and thus can not freely roll on its side. I found if I give enough space in between eggs, this usually won't happen.
Here is instruction of the construction for those who are interested:
1. Find a piece of Styrofoam to be used as the rack, preferably a rectangle and with height equal or slightly higher than the edge of the incubator (the reason for height I will explain shortly). Cut the center potion away, leaving only a rectangle wall. The size of this rack apparently is decided by how many eggs you want to set. And of course the width should be so when you pull it inside the incubator side to side, it allows the eggs to make at least a half turn roll.
2. Find some long and thin sticks to be used as axis of the rollers. I just buy a pack of BBQ sticks from a grocery store, cost 99 cents. Then break into pieces of the same length as the rack. Push them through the bottom part of the rack, equally spaced. The position should be as close to the bottom as possible for quail eggs. For chick eggs, it can be probably higher. The space in this case is slightly larger than the largest egg you will use.
3. Get some plastic straws and cut into length of slightly less than the inner length of the rack. Thread each wood stick through a straw before you push it into the other end. These straws are very important as they serve to keep the eggs rolling freely without getting stuck. I tried to do without the straws, but the result is not as good.
4. Get two long threads, the smooth type. Use small nail or pin or tape to attach them to the two opposite side of the rack wall. You want the two threads to be attached on roughly the same height as or even slightly higher than the edge of the incubator (thus the height requirement of the rack), so when you are pulling the rack, it is being pulled sideways, and slightly pushed down; you definitely do not want the wires to be pulled upwards as this will likely pull the rack up and leave the eggs below, and make a mess of the egg arrangement. I imagine if the rack is made out of something heavier like wood, this may not be an issue. I just happened to find Styrofoam to be easiest to work with, and there are always plenty of them around.
5. Now lay the rack on the incubator wire floor, set your eggs inside laying on their side ready to be rolled side way with the rack, and IMPORTANT: leave enough space in between eggs on the same row. Pull the thread outside, close the incubator.
6. Enjoy the quick egg turning in one go!
I just uploaded a youtube video here, kind of dark and you may not see the threads on each side, but you got the idea:
I think this gadget can still receive some improvements, like fine adjustment of the sticks' spacing and height to give the most smooth and reliable rolling. But the one I made is already working to my satisfactory.
I do not claim this as an original idea. In fact, I saw a similar device on an youtube video sometime ago (I can not find the video now, it was a random search and browsing hit), where a wooden rack is made to do the same thing, except without the straw and pulling thread parts. The straw and pulling thread are something I come up with to get better performance and a no need to open incubator. I also made it out of cheap scrap, so anybody can make them quickly. Once I figured out the how-to, I made this one in less than 5 minutes.
Happy hatching. Mine are on their fifth day now.
Edited by laputa - 6/27/09 at 1:08am