Missprissys Chic Chick Homemade Incubator

By MissPrissy · Jan 11, 2012 · ·
  1. MissPrissy
    View the entire thread on BYC Forums
    Past experience with an old hovabator over 15 years ago left me not wanting to try and hatch eggs myself. The thermostat was wonky and unreliable. Even replacing it with a new wafer it was a pain to get the temp set and maintained. With things changing and solid state thermostats available I thought I would give the idea another go. I cringed every time I looked at the price of incubators with all the bells and whistles. Over $200 in some cases for all the extras.

    I could not and cannot see that expense for a styrofoam box!

    With the posting about home made incubators I started collecting pieces and parts and figured this girl could make one, too.

    This is my effort at putting together a reliable incubator. So far it is working fine. I have it running now so I can work out the adjustment on the thermostat for consistant temperature.

    1 styrofoam ice chest or a chest that is used to ship frozen foods. I had both but chose the ice chest because it is larger.

    1 hot water heater thermostat ($8, temp ranges from 90 - 150 F)
    25w light bulb
    1lamp kit (bottle version)
    4 old wine corks
    1surge protector
    1water wiggler

    Not pictured
    hardware cloth, water dish, old pc fan, adaptor/transformer

    I cut and bent the hardware cloth to make a rack that fit into the ice chest. I placed an old dish in the bottom to provide more surface area for the water to help with humidity and also to rest the hardware cloth rack on. Be careful because the cloth will scratch you as you work with it. I worked with it removing pieces here and there until I got a good custom fit. I also cut out the area where the light bulb would be installed to keep the light low in the box because heat rises.


    I am not an electrician and have very little expeience with wiring. I followed a diagram and wired my light and the thermostat. I did wire them wrong the first time but when the breaker tripped I knew then the right way to wire them. LOL

    The thermostat is the least expensive, single pole version I could find. In a previous post Aran had gotten his from Home Depot but I could not find anything inexpensive (under $10) in my local store so I picked one up from Lowes. The temperature range on this model is 90 - 150 F. The screw at the top is numbered #1 and the lower is #2.

    I used a bottle lamp kit because it has an opening on the side so that the kit can be wired straight from the bottom or from the side. This was perfect for this project because it allowed me to run the wires, connect them, then seal the base closed. I am terrified of exposed wires and prefer to have everything contained neatly and hidden away.

    On the kit the ribbed wire was to be connected to the silver screw.

    So I cut off a piece of the cord about 4 inches long to have wire to work with to connect the thermostat.

    With the ribbed wire connected to the silver screw I then used a piece of the wire I cut to wire from the brass screw to the thermostat #2 screw, then used the non ribbed wire of the cord to wire it to the #1 thermostat screw. The wire is run through the base screw and then over through the side opening to that everything is sealed shut when the lamp assembly is closed.


    I then carefully wittled out around the inside hole I made to insert the lamp assembly so that everything was snug and tight. The walls of the ice chest I used are rather thick -just a bit thicker than the screw/bolt that came with the light kit. I was very careful to cut away around my bolt opening to that the light assembly would screw together snug and tight so the bulb did not wiggle around and pose a fire threat by melting the styrofoam. Also I cut away a little bit to accomdate the wiring running over to the thermostat.

    Assembly on the outside.

    And from the inside.

    I put electrical tape over the little screws on the thermostat that the wires are attatched to because I worried if a child reached in and accidentally touched the screws they might get shocked.

    Make sure you thread your wires through your tiny holes before assebling them. I used an ice pick to make tiny openings to thread the wires through.

    Next I used an old adaptor (some called it a transformer), 120v input 12v DC output (thanks, redneck!), from which I snipped off the end and wire it to an old pc fan.

    I wired the black to the black and the red to the other mixed color wire. I secured the wiring with electrical tape and wire nuts. I used a stick coated wire to secure the fan in place.

    Using a pumpkin carving tool, I cut out 4 air vent holes and used old wine corks to plug them up with.

    I cut out a large rectangle in the lid and placed over it an old window glass pane.

    I used duct tape to secure the glass and cover the edges of the glass.

    I used pink duct tape because it is a Chick 'Bator!

    Special thanks to Aran and Redneck for answering my questions.

    *This post maybe be updated as I think about questions I had while making my incubator.

    My 9 year old helper

    Remember to add at least 4 holes the size of an ice pick about 1 - 2 inches up from the very bottom of the bator for fresh air exchange.

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    Rickwar04 likes this.

Recent User Reviews

  1. Anonymous
    "Good info & pics."
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Aug 9, 2018
    Nice article on how to with good pics.
  2. Hope Hughes
    "Nice job on the build"
    3/5, 3 out of 5, reviewed Jul 27, 2018
    How did it work? Would you have changed anything??
  3. ronott1
    "Incubator build"
    3/5, 3 out of 5, reviewed Jul 20, 2018
    Nice article on building an incubator.

    The article needs an update to let us know how it worked


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  1. Rickwar04
    This is good stuff . Thank you for sharing this information passing hope to the challenged . It gives me hope.
  2. Leaguinea
    How did this work for you? I made one almost the same and had an awful time regulating the temperature, Needless to say the batch of eggs I put in never made it :(
  3. Cluckcluck1215
    Great list!isher a list of stufe somewhere for a chick brooder?
  4. Mamashash
    I purchased an incubator, loaded it up with eggs collected from my own hens and am now watching and waiting. I am scared that I made a bad choice with the incubator and should have made my own. Even though I have the incubator going, I am on the verge of making my own and starting another batch.
    I really like the way yours is set up.
  5. afritz26
    I made ours and love it! my first hatch i hatched 21 out of 22 eggs.. 2nd hatch didnt go so well. have my 3rd set in there now.
  6. chickitychicks
    And, is it working so far?
  7. BaileyBoy
    PLease tell me what the holes are for
  8. RoseMarie1
    What does the PC fan wires plug into?
  9. jchny2000
    I am writing my supply list right now. Thanks so much!
  10. ChickenGirl 19
    I might try this next year.
  11. SleepyOwl
    Great little setup! How is it working for you?
  12. LeonieJane
    I have almost finished my homemade bator. I used a different thermostat though (i hate the idea of rewiring) I brought a reptile thermostat. I also brought a fan off ebay for $14...it's run from a USB port..But i brought it in the hopes it will plug into my iPhone wall charger...And it does :) I'll be adding an addition light as well incase one blows at least there will be some heat still. Will be placing eggs in it on the 23rd in the hopes to have hatchings on mothers day :)
  13. DelawareChickin
    Fantastic!!!! Not much electrical experience, huh? lol im going to try this!
  14. LeonieJane
    I have just had a terrible experience with my first hatch. I borrowed an incubator from a friend who purchased it from ebay. Although the displays were reading correctly what was happening in the incubator was the opposite. I didn't get a single hatch and I am shattered. I wasn't planning on even attempting to hatch anymore but after reading this...I think I might give it a shot.
      Rickwar04 likes this.

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