WELCOME MY INCUBATOR PAGE
When I set out to have a backyard flock I wanted to do it a cheaply as possible. This meant using recycled materials for the coop where I could. I used the same concept when building an incubator.
So, I started by doing a ton of reading here on BYC and other sites on the web. Once I understood the basic concept of incubating and the purpose of an incubator I set out searching the house and shed to see if I had the materials laying around.
Here is what I was able to find:​
  • An old cooler ($0.00)​
  • Chicken wire ($0.00)​
  • An extra light fixure for a curio type cabinet ($0.00)​
  • A pie tin ($0.00)​
  • A fan from a broken power inverter ($0.00)​
  • A transformer from an old cell phone charger - 12V to power the fan ($0.00)​
  • A hygrometer from a small cigar humidor that I never used ($0.00)​
  • Glass panel from an old picture frame ($0.00)​
  • 60W Light bulb ($0.00)​
  • Digital Thermometer (Wal-Mart $6.50)​
  • Shelf liner (Dollar Store $1.50)​

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Once I built the bator I tested it out. It did not take long to learn I could not maintain the heat levels I wanted; so I turned to the folks here on BYC. BYCer “rickerra” (BTW: THANK YOU VERY MUCH!) suggested I add heat sinks and a thermostat which I did with great success.
I added a Thermostat (Ebay $16.00)
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I replaced the small fan with a larger computer fan (Radio Shack $9.00) for better air cirrculation (Note the river rocks in the pic. They were pulled from the yard, scrubbed and sanitized and serve as my heat sink)
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These eggs were my first ever hatch (They were shipped eggs, which really took a beating during shipping; I got one chick out of the bunch):
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LESSONS LEARNED
One of the first things I learned was that I did not like the way I had to open the bator to add water. This has been fixed but adding a tube which I can add water to the tray (Tubing $0.00 - shed).
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Second: The chicken wire floor was not very stable and if you look at the second image above you'll see I also had chicken wire to serve as a wall so the chicks would not fall into the light or fan. Well, soon after hatch the new chick placed it's head through a hole in the wire. It did not get hurt but left me with an uncomfortable feeling. So I replaced the entire floor with a disposable "Grill Topper" from the charcoal section of my grocery store (Publix $1.79). This gave me a sturdy floor and still allows air flow. This set up also allows me to get a bunch more eggs in the bator; there are 18 Blue Barred Plymouth Rock eggs in the bator as this is being written. In the below image I am using filled water bottles that serve as both my floor support but also as heat sinks.
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A word of warning about the grill topper; the edges are a little sharp; but at lockdown I'll insert the shelf liner on it which will provide a cushioned and grippable surface for the chicks.
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I'd love to build an auto turner but I don't have the know how and frankly it would be an added expense. To turn the eggs I simply place a small piece of lumber on either side of the bater; turning all eggs at once - this basically mimicks what an auto turner does.
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Total cost to date (I know all the items cost money but for this total I am not including recycled items nor am I including items that were laying around the house):
  • Shelf liner (Dollar Store $1.50)​
  • T-Stat (Ebay $16.00)​
  • Fan (Radio Shack $9.00)​
  • Grill Topper (Publix $1.79)​
TOTAL: $34.79