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Homemade Easy Cooler Incubator

Build your own homemade easy peasy incubator
  1. Sally Sunshine
    A few other links to check out for incubating and Care of little ones!

    Hatching 101 ~

    Guide to ASSISTED Hatching ~
    CABINET COOLER INCUBATOR ~

    Mushy Chick Disease ~

    Duckling Care ~



    HOMEMADE EASY PEASY

    ~ INCUBATOR!!!

    We have hatched hundreds of chicks
    in these coolerbators!

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    Incubator Ideas

    Coolers, Plastic or Styrofoam
    Styrofoam Shipping Containers (Pet Supply Stores)
    Cabinets with added interior insulation
    Wooden Boxes with added interior insulation

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    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/incubating-w-friends-helpful-notes-links-informational-post-links

    Sold by AC Infinity and Fulfilled by Amazon.







    • Designed for custom projects that requires or as a replacement fan in various machinery
    • Includes a heavy-duty aluminum fan with power plug cord, two fan guards, and mounting screw set
    • Dual-ball bearings have a lifespan of 67,000 hours and allows the fans to be laid flat or stand upright
    • Low Speed: Has a lower noise and airflow rating than high speed models
    • Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 25 mm | Airflow: 51 CFM | Noise: 30 dBA | Bearings: Dual Ball
    See more product details






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    Viewing Window

    We use Plexiglas. not sure on cost? Glass from a cheap picture frame or window will work too! The bigger the viewing area the better! We use clear sealant, in the pic above it is still wet but has since dried clear.


    Ventilation Holes
    Yes, you NEED THEM! Please refer to: Hatching 101 ~ Ventilation Section
    We have ¼” holes all around the bottom of the cooler and the same along the top, refer to above pic. We also have the drain plug, and we drilled three ½” holes on the sides near the top, one is close to the fan but not directly behind it for more air exchange.



    Wire Platform and Water Wells
    You can cut wire so that it is shaped like an open box and fits in the bottom of the incubator, just remember to make it high enough so you can fit water dishes in the bottom, Remember surface area is more important than depth when trying to up the humidity. Please refer to: Hatching 101 ~ Humidity Section
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    TWO MORE COOLERS MADE!!!



    need to cover the fan with wire dang knew I would forget that!

    But it will be ready!! Up and running!! save those little frozen food meal containers for the bottom, use the one with sections, I only have one to put in there for you!

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    fame sits on those bolts to lift off bottom and these freezer meal trays are perfect

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    14 reviews ratings
    Q&A
    By: Coleman
    Walmart #: 552035097
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    Order Wafer Thermostat for Hova-Bator Egg Incubators | Cabinet | Desktop| Brooder 3122

    Price:
    US $22.75

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    Wafer Thermostat for Hova-Bator Egg Incubators | Cabinet | Desktop| Brooder 3122
    ( 270949887789 )
    Quantity: 2







    I have also purchased a STC because I want to try one in mine, to COMPARE with the wafers I love so much

    ITEM PRICE:
    US $15.80

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    Universal STC-1000 Digital Temperature Controller Thermostat w/ Sensor AC 110V



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    The fans I ordered, and I ordered higher cfm and rpms so I may have to adjust humidity more because of the fan, but I wanted more air flow in them anyways.
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    Lot 2PCS New 80mm IDE Chassis Fan Cooling for Computer PC Host 4 Pins

    Price:
    US $6.99 for two, I ordered 4 total because I need to have extras on hand just in case.

    Features:
    1. Silent Fan Cooling System
    2. Special high profile fan blades for maximum air flow
    4. 4 Pins Connector Male and Female
    5. Provide excellent ventilation for your PC cases

    Specification:
    Speed reference: 1800 +/-10% RPM
    Bearing Type: Sleeve Bearing
    Noise Reference: 23 db
    Reference air flow: 60CFM
    Rated Voltage: 12V
    Rated Current: 0.18A
    Interface Type: 4 Pins Male and Female
    Length: 11.8inches
    Size: 3.1 x 3.1 x 1 in(L x W x H)
    Color: black

    Package include:
    2 x Computer Chassis Fan



    ,


    two per cooler, cheap at lowes ceramic
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    I got my major parts for two bators, @sarasweatman coming to your home soon!!
    just need to get the minor shtuffss!!!!1



    BTW this cooler interior is 10"x21" and 12" depth and its a 52 quart
    If I do more after this I would go a bit larger on the interior. I forgot this cooler is a good thick insulated cooler and that takes up
    space and makes the inside smaller. keep that in mind should you order any!


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    Thermostat
    YES you NEED ONE!
    Thermostats are easy to install!
    What is a thermostat and why do I need one? A Thermostat is a temperature-sensitive switch that controls space conditioning, in this case heat! When the temperature drops below the thermostat setting, the switch moves to the "on" position, and your heat source runs to warm the air to the setting you selected and then shuts the heat source off when temp is achieved. Thermostats can regulate ambient (area temps) or radiant heat (at heat source) and some even have a probe.

    Steady Temperatures are EXTREMELY important during incubation!
    Please refer to: Hatching 101 ~ Temperature Section


    HERE IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF A STYRO BATOR VS CoolerBATOR with a WAFER thermostat, and this is our CHEAPO walmart brahnd cooler with little insulation and see below pic, the lid of the cooler has absolutely no insulation! WAFER THERMOSTATS ROCK! P E R I O D

    Story:
    Last night DH decides to close the Coal stove half of what its been for days, Its only 62 when I woke up.

    NOTE COOLERBATOR TEMP 6AM
    NOTE the Styro TEMP 6AM

    IF HE DIDNT KILL the 7 day old EMBRYOS I will be amazed, its going to take me half the day to get it back up and then to stable it I havent a clue, plus he opened up the coal stove because its only 62 upstairs today. Hubs tells me he closed it around 10 pm so it was cooling from 10 pm to 6 am

    IF THAT IS NOT ENOUGH REASON for disliking Styrofoam incubators with crappy thermostats I can give you a BOAT LOAD OF OTHER REASONS.

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    DIGITAL Thermostat
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    the most important part of temp control is the location of the thermostat (or the probe, if it's that type) and the amount/direction of the air flow. Better air flow means more consistent temps across the entire incubator. Correctly placing the sensor makes the heating element more closely track the ups and downs in temp.

    Jesshan8 created a WIRING diagram here:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/g/i/5049210/wiring-diagram-jpg/sort/display_order/


    GREAT thermostat and it’s cheap, about $14. And it includes a probe that you will set at the level of your eggs in the incubator. You can find them here: Digital Thermometers 110 VOLT Digital Thermostat and Solid State Relay Wiring Diagram found here Wiring Diagram Video SEE VIDEO HERE... YouTUBE Links to the Solid State Relays EBay Solid State Relays

    Here is a combo unit!​

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    WAFER Thermostat

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    GREAT thermostat and it’s about $24. Make sure you get the “Assembly” and not just the wafers (see pic.) Wafer thermostats are the most used in incubators because they read the temperature which surrounds your eggs, not just the heat coming directly off a light or heater.
    You can find them here Wafer Thermostat Assembly

    Please refer to wiring diagrams for either single or double light fixtures in this VIDEO (scroll to bottom of link page)
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    See the little Allen wrench thing from the wafer thermostat?
    It is marked which way to turn up!
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    Above you will notice that an extension cord is cut through for wiring the thermostat and lamps and is the only input of electric to this unit. Below you can see the fan plug is then plugged into the extension cord.
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    HOT WATER HEATER Thermostat
    DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME with a hot water heater thermostat!
    These have a lot of variance in temperature since it reads RADIANT heat directly from the light bulb or heat source. When we installed ours it was almost touching the light bulb and we STILL had over a 2 degree variance in temps. HOWEVER, IF you ALREADY purchased a hot water thermostat here is the diagram to install it. REMEMBER the closer to the heat source the less variance you will have with this type. You will have to keep adjusting the unit closer and closer to the bulb until you have reached the best temps with as little variance as possible. AGAIN, PURCHASE one of the other two Thermostats as they are well worth it!
    Please refer to link: Hot Water Heater Thermostat Wiring Digrams


    this is the can cut out I was talking about for the coolers to keep lights higher but protect the lid post #50
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    Heat Source = Light Bulbs!

    We use CERAMIC Light SOCKETS already with the wires, see below... You can also use lamp kits. We use TWO lights! Why? If one lamp blows we still have the other that will continue to heat the incubator to its correct temp and can save your entire hatch. This is HIGHLY recommended if you hatch expensive eggs or shipped eggs. We use two 40 Watt Bulb! Refer to thermostat wiring diagrams for installation. Placement of the lamps should be towards the top of the cooler but NOT close enough to melt it. You don’t want them low directly over your eggs.



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    If you didn't install a double, I HIGHLY SUGGEST YOU do two lights in one of these!!

    THEY DO BLOW, and they blow your hatch could easily be lost!



    Fan Installation

    You will need a 12v dc pc Computer cooling fan, new or used.
    You can find them for a few bucks here: cheap less than 5 bucks shipped FANS on ebay
    You will ALSO need a 120v input 12v DC output USED adaptor/transformer/inverter. We used one from an old phone. You will snip off the end and wire it to the pc fan. Wire the black to the black and the red to the other mixed color wire. Secure w/ electrical tape and wire nuts. Location should be where it can blow across the bottoms of BOTH bulbs so that the heat is quickly dispersed and this also will reduce HOT SPOTS in the incubator under the bulbs.


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    PREWIRED AND PLENTY FOR A COOLER!!! @BantyChooks
    https://www.amazon.com/115V-AC-Cooling-120mm-Power/dp/B006F91PCM?SubscriptionId=AKIAJUS2TZQQOCBI4XPA&tag=shopforbosesp-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B006F91PCM

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    Roll over image to zoom in


    AC Infinity AXIAL 1225, Muffin Cooling Fan, 115V AC 120mm by 120mm by 25mm Low Speed
    by AC Infinity
    4.6 out of 5 stars 177 customer reviews
    | 13 answered questions


    Price:$18.99 & Fast, FREE Shipping with Amazon Prime



    Only 18 left in stock.



    Sold by AC Infinity and Fulfilled by Amazon.







    • Designed for custom projects that requires or as a replacement fan in various machinery
    • Includes a heavy-duty aluminum fan with power plug cord, two fan guards, and mounting screw set
    • Dual-ball bearings have a lifespan of 67,000 hours and allows the fans to be laid flat or stand upright
    • Low Speed: Has a lower noise and airflow rating than high speed models
    • Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 25 mm | Airflow: 51 CFM | Noise: 30 dBA | Bearings: Dual Ball
    See more product details




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    Viewing Window

    We use Plexiglas. Glass from a cheap picture frame or window will work too! The bigger the viewing area the better! We use clear sealant, in the pic above it is still wet but has since dried clear.


    Ventilation Holes
    Yes, you NEED THEM! Please refer to: Hatching 101 ~ Ventilation Section
    We have ¼” holes all around the bottom of the cooler and the same along the top, refer to above pic. We also have the drain plug, and we drilled three ½” holes on the sides near the top, one is close to the fan but not directly behind it for more air exchange.



    Wire Platform and Water Wells
    You can cut wire so that it is shaped like an open box and fits in the bottom of the incubator, just remember to make it high enough so you can fit water dishes in the bottom, Remember surface area is more important than depth when trying to up the humidity. Please refer to: Hatching 101 ~ Humidity Section
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    TEST RUN
    Always do a test run on your incubator, and CALIBRATE Thermometers and Hygrometers!
    Please refer to: Hatching 101 ~ Temperature Section at the end of this section is HOW TO CALIBRATE!


    Links to Ideas for Homemade Turners
    Turner Idea Links

    Links to Homemade Incubators
    Homemade Incubator Section BYC

    Links to Instructional Videos
    Video Links DETAILED Homemade Incubator Instructions




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    UPDATE ADDITION
    I had to rig something fast for humidity this time too, since I have no room for my dish with a sponge, too many eggs in hatch this time around!
    I do have the two trays under the eggs but its not enough this packed, I think the fan isnt picking up surface area on them as much since its jammed

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    I have the sponges near holes so I can spray water in with a spray bottle lol
    This was my rig job last night, I may use it from now on instead of on the wire with the eggs!

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    caulked! excuse the rusty caulk, I had a nail in the caulk and then I had tape over it to keep the caulk good for next use [​IMG]

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    I had to cut the other end down as my sponge is big, I still had to cut my sponge though.
    Works like a charm, plenty of room for eggs to hatch AND it holds extra water to pull from!

    I used two galv screwed to the side of the bator
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    DIARY of FIRST Hatch in Our Igloo CoolerBator!

    Great kids project!
    Our cooler was made by my 8yr old Daughter Harmony and her Daddy!
    100% hatch w/Local Eggs even AFTER a week without power due to Hurricane Sandy!

    THE EGGS are SET!

    Suggestions for shipped eggs and ALL about incubating here...
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/hatching-eggs-101
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    Harmony's homemade cooler incubator with her fertile hatching eggs,
    TRYING to keep temps high enough when generator is off.
    We ran our generator on four hours and off for 4 hours.


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    Road close for a WEEK!
    Still no way in or out, trees and wires untouched, both ways up n down. Met-ed can not give any est at this time, as they have crews in more populated areas first. Penndot says its a electric co job as all the wires are down too. Pics of first tree up and first one down was the pic this am I posted. : (



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    Great time to read over IDEAS IF ELECTRIC GOES!!!

    NOTES: from https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/hatching-eggs-101
    What If the Power Goes Off?

    To understand more about embryo viability & temperatures
    Please refer to the following links….

    Brinsea ~ Temperature Guide



    Some other ideas to help maintain heat in your incubator and great when you turn by hand is by adding some sterilized rocks,

    or even several sealed jars with warm water or small ziplock baggies with warm water to fill the empty incubator spaces.

    A full incubator of eggs always helps maintain a steady temperature even if it’s not good for your chicken math!

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    EGG UPDATE! Polish Rolling AIR CELLS NOT GOOD!
    Only ONE VIABLE, the one that had a saddle shaped air cell. Harmony is upset but has plenty of local eggs in the bator!
    I left the questionable ones in and Harmony eggtopsied the others, she took pics, see below. Good kid! She was totally thrilled t least get to see oone polish white eggs that was alive! you can REALLY see the viens and even recognize parts! so awesome to see them move, but I told her that I dont have a "cool" candler its a hot bulb and plugs in so she cannot candle too long, real quick look and done.... so the cooler bator is still full of hatching eggs! Note: buy a mini mag led light for candling! Here are Harmony's Candling Pics!


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    unfertile below

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    Holy CRAPOLLIES!! I was gone and couldn't candle, turn or regulate anything!
    I ended up in the hospital for a week with my young son and the eggs were NOT turned from day 11 to day 18!
    We return home and HOLY WOZA!! Day 18/19 is HATCH DAY Go CoolerBATOR GO!! WOW!!
    (temps ran a tad high so early hatching, I DO NOT recomend!)
    Days 18&19 HATCH!!!

    As they hatched I didnt have a brooder ready so we quickly set up the old cheap styro bator to move chicks into.
    BELOW are harmonys pics from the temp styro brooder bator, these are Dark Brahma.




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    BELOW is ONE of our brooders it is actually a very large plastic tote, dont know why it looks small.
    SUGGEST that you get as big of one (floor) space as possible since you will be wintering them inside.
    They grow fast and you will be surprised by the room you need so they arent pooping on each other!


    I have a 75W bulb in mine as its in the lower level with a coal stove, I have a tiny bowl waterer so chicks dont drown but u can use a reg one just put clean marbles or stones in it to keep from drowning for a week. and I also started using save-a-chick and dip beaks so they know where water is. I also use papertowl over the pine shavings so I can pinch and powder a bit of the chick starter on it so they feed better the first two days or so. I like to keep pcs of plywood so they dont get shavings in water and food, as they get bigger and start to scratch around I will add a pc at a time to raise it as they will be bigger and can hop up higher too. A few weeks down the road I like to add a limb for them to roost, but just enough to get them off the ground/shavings.


    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/hatching-eggs-101

    I counted EIGHT that I put into the brooder bator and there is at least 6 more hatching!!!! plus the two already in the brooder box! ( see that little blacky off to the left in the front??? Thats the ONLY little polish guy that hatched for harmony, the rest were scrambled from shipping : ( she is upset, but holy crap look at the rest!! BRAHMA CITY!!

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    I HIGHLY SUGGEST adding SAVE-a-chic when chicks are drying off, it gives them a MAJOR BOOST!
    see below the little lid with marbles in it so they dont drown???? they love it!!!


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    LOL look playing dead.... just kidding!! resting like my English springers do!
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    Her ONLY POLISH that hatched is a gold laced! Below

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    Will you look at SEXY ...... WOW

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    The new cooler bator we made to be as perfect as we (I) studied up on, HOWEVER it still wasnt close to perfect, the water wells are an issue for sure. YOU MUST be able to get water IN EASILY, AND you also need to be able to REMOVE it EASILY! My styro bator I had rigged with aquarium tubing and a medicine syringe, which works well in the styro bator! Going to read more on that area and we dont need a egg turner, I like the egg turning : ) personal preference.... but I am going to buy one of those plastic trays with alot of holes for incubating shipped eggs. I will show u what all we changed in regards to that homemade bator, but the hubby and harmony did a wonderful job with it otherwise!


    TEMP ~ Try to hold that TEMP 99.5-100 Without variation, (which our cooler bator does BETTER THAN THE STYRO BATOR!) you can open and close and open and close and it still stays within a 1 degree varience! REMEMBER to add rocks, glas jars with warm water to help retain heat! Just in case u loose electric and arent aware. And I noticed with a FULL BATOR it holds everything alot stabiler than NOT! so use more water jars to fill up space to help keep steady.

    PLUS ~ MAKE SURE with MANY THERMOMETERS/Hygrom to calibrate and know which thermometers to go by, BUT ALWAYS keep a reg inubator thermometer that is calibrated inside for quick adjustments, SMALL ADJUSTMENTS ONLY!! REMEMBER the digital thermometers take a while to raise and lower, but the reg ones are quicker! I dont use a probe one, dont think I will either with the new bator, but would want one for the styro bator as that temp is a tad harder to control, the one hygro/thermo I have even shows what the max and min temps have been! GREAT for when the power was out and I could see those fluxs and know I was still ok with them!!

    Humidity~ I only add warm water if it goes below 30% and add to Smallest well FIRST! Then day 18 I raise to the lower 60's but once they start hatching its out of control from their wet selves and goes into the 70's which has been ok....

    After all this batch went through, I think perhaps SET IT AND FORGET works! I also think I have gone candle happy on my other batches, this time they only had it on day 8 and day 18! look but DO NOT TOUCH....

    Another NOTE: I want to get a different candler, the one I have gets HOT! it plugs in. Gonna try the flashlight route


    UPDATE!!! All the Eggs HATCHED and are all fluffed up and happy peepers!!

    25 PEEPERS with 100% Hatch from the local eggs!!!!






    LOOK bator station ready! Bators all cleaned and bleached packed and running for new serama eggs!! I am to get a batch today and then the other person said next monday... ugggg, two bators AGAIN, but they are up and holding well!
    DID ANYONE SAY ADDICTION? Harmony was like "Mom sterilize the candler too" really? Miss Messy 8 year old !![​IMG]


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    Bigger Brooder CHECK!!! with some supervision our daughter Summer 12 and little guy Lucas 5 made it, (mom had to do the cutting of course) Sister Harmony was with her Aunty for the day.... But they did awesome, and actually had a great time building it, they wanted to color the brooder with markers, they only have the top finished, I said no when they went to start coloring the inside, LOL..... Dont want those peeps drunk on fumes! ITS HUGE 4.5' x 3'


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    Below is a pic of the one half, they venture over to the other side too!

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    KEEP ON HATCHING HARMONY!!
    Below is her 4th set hatcing in her COOLERBATOR!


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    BELOW is My FAVORITE PICTURE!! Harmony just "hangs" with her peeps!!

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    Below, Harmony has a photo shoot with her peeps!

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    Below are Harmonys Serama Peeps from CPL just before they were added with BHeps Serama peeps!!

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    All cozy together and seem to get along fine so far!! big differance a week.5 makes doesnt it?

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    Disclaimer: Please note this information is offered as friendly advice only and, whilst I have made every effort to ensure it is accurate, I can not be held responsible if it proves not to be useful in your case!







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Comments

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  1. venymae
    video direct link
  2. BantyChooks
    Love this article!!!
  3. Gypsi
  4. Gypsi
    ok, is there a US source for a thermostat? Has to be. because by the time it comes in my chicks will have hatched
  5. BantyChooks
    Wow, this is a very complete article!! When I get around to gettin my own 'bator, I'l be building one of these!
  6. Sally Sunshine
    Ball jars are added to help hold the heat better if you only have a small batch of eggs in. I have found in the coolerbator with two lights its not really needed when combined with the wafer thermostat, you set it and it stays, no fiddlin necessary :)
  7. MonTXChickens
    Sally,
    What is the purpose of the Ball Jars with lids in the incubator?
    I love this idea and think I will build one. I have a styrofoam Hova Bator but I like this better.
    Thank you for the details!
  8. andreacroyle
    Thanks for taking the time to make this. I havent gone to all the links yet but will. I just found this and am already in the middle of making my own from an unused 50 gallon fish tank. i have already bought the hot water heater thermostat and DH finished mounting it today. I wish I had found this thread before hand because many of the other threads. thanks for the tip on the filled mason jars and rocks to retain the heat. i was wondering why they were there.
  9. Y N dottes
    Hot water heater thermostats can work, though some modifications might be necessary. True, they measure radiant heat, but it is possible to get it so there is no variance in temp.
  10. LeviS
    So glad that this article is here, I have been checking back on it religiously while working on mine.

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