Frenchhens Chicken Incubator

By FrenchHen · Jan 11, 2012 · ·
  1. FrenchHen

    The Unintended Anniversary Gift Incubator

    This is based on MissPrissy' s incubator with a few changes.

    Materials List (scavenged if price unlisted):

    Omaha Steak Syrofoam Cooler from your anniversary present. (Thanks Dad and Ann!)
    A bit of leftover hardware cloth
    Bottom of plastic take-out container
    PC fan
    Kiddie cup from restaurant
    Instant Read Thermometer
    Electrical tape
    Twistie tie
    Wine corks or rolled up paper towels
    12 volt transformer from some old, abandoned, electrical thing
    Thermometer/hydrometer from Wal-Mart $4
    Hot water heater thermostat: $8 Home Depot
    Plexiglass sheet: $3 Home Depot
    Snap light fixture for night lights (I didn't want to have to wire up a fixture) $6 Home Depot
    25 Watt bulbs $2 Home Depot
    Old egg carton
    Gaff tape (couldn't find the duct tape).


    Step One: Gather Materials.
    This took me around three hours due to the fact that we have a million places to put and forget stuff.

    Step Two: Assemble the Parts
    1. Cut hardware cloth to fit the bottom.
    2. Put band-aid on finger where hardware cloth stabbed you.
    3. Install pan under hardware cloth.
    4. Cut hardware cloth guard to shield chickies from electrical stuff.
    Step Three, the hard part: Wire the dang thing
    1. Stare at thermostat. Figure out how to wire the power in and out.
    2. Cut the clicky on/off switch out of the light fixture cord.
    3. Split both cut ends of the light fixture cord apart and strip 1/2 inch off of both ends.
    4. Cut two holes into the wall of the cooler for the power cords for the thermostat and PC fan. Run the wires through the holes.
    5. Wire unribbed side of light fixture cord into thermostat. Join with other piece of unribbed wire. Splice together the ribbed side of the cord.
    6. Install light in Incubator. I cut a hole in the hardware cloth and snapped the fixture into that hole.
    7. Cautiously plug in to see if light works.
    8. Undo any tripped breakers and wire it the other way if you did something wrong.
    9. Cut the end of the transformer (the part that plugs into some unused machine, not the part that plugs into the wall). Separate the cords and expose 1/2 inch of bare wire.
    10. Splice the wires of the PC fan and the transformer together.
    11. Cautiously plug that in to see if it works.
    12. Undo any tipped breakers and rewire appropriately.
    13. Cover bare wires with splicer caps or electrical tape.
    14. Install fan and thermostat into incubator using twistie ties through the walls of the cooler.
    15. Check again to make sure it all works.
    16. Enclose electrical stuff behind hardware cloth guard.
    17. Cut a hole in top of the cooler smaller than the glass. Tape glass to top of cooler from the top.
    18. Poke 4 air holes at the bottom and two larger holes (plug with paper towel wad or corks) to regulate humidity.
    Step Four: Final Set-Up

    1. Let the incubator run overnight to get an idea of levels. Adjust thermostat until the incubator reads steady at the temperature/humidity you want. To make this easier, set an open top quart jar of water in the incubator. It serves as a "heat sink" and will help keep both temp and humidity steady.
    2. Fill Kiddie cup with water, insert instant read thermometer into top of kiddie cup. This tells you the interior temp of the eggs.
    3. Calibrate thermometer/hydrometer in bag of 1/2 cup salt and 1/4 cup water. Don't let the unit touch the salt and water mixture! After eight hours, it should read a humidity of 75%. Put in incubator after calibration.
    4. When the levels hold steady, set eggs. I used an egg carton propped on its own lid so all I have to do to turn is lean it to the other side.
    5. Try not to candle every single day. Admit to no one that the spider thingies fascinate you to the point that you must gaze at them regularly.
    6. Cross fingers, be a basket case for 3-4 weeks, and join the ranks of hatchaholics.
    Please send me a PM if something isn't clear or if I got my facts wrong.

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Recent User Reviews

  1. ronott1
    "Nice Job!"
    3/5, 3 out of 5, reviewed Sep 19, 2018
    The article needs more build details and pictures. A wiring program would be helpful too
  2. rjohns39
    "Nice Job"
    2/5, 2 out of 5, reviewed Aug 17, 2018
    I loved your sense of humor, but would have loved some more in-progress pics and your wiring diagram.
  3. Hope Hughes
    "Nice job!"
    2/5, 2 out of 5, reviewed Jul 27, 2018
    I would like s few more details on airing and how to's. But nice job.


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  1. fergyc2l2t316
    This is priceless. Thanks for the good laugh
  2. XxPandaxX
    HAHAHA. The band aid thing is wonderful :')
  3. rocketmail
    this looks cool i think ill try it:)

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