Old Drawer Incubator

Old desk drawer incubator
By MichiganWoods · Jan 11, 2012 · ·
  1. MichiganWoods
    Old Drawer Incubator
    With 20 chicken egg auto turner



    • (2) old drawers with identical measurements[/FONT]
    • (2) hinges[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](4) metal tabs (rectangle with 2 holes)[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) L shaped bracket[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) 1" one hole strap[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) drawer handle or knob[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) LG auto turner[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) small deadbolt[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) lamp kit[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) CPU fan[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) AC adapter[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) light socket plug [/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) extension cord[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) surge protective power strip[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) 15w lightbulb[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) 11w lightbulb[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) roll foil insulation[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) roll foil insulation tape[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) strip of 1" oak trim[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) section of holey plastic gutter guard[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](2) plexi-glass window panes[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) rubber door stopper[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) 1" vinyl tubing (several inches)[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) refillable plastic ketchup bottle[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) plastic butter dish top[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) Rubbermaid container lid[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva](1) Nut and bolt[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva]Short wood screws[/FONT]
    • [FONT=verdana,geneva]wood glue (optional)[/FONT]


    • Electrical hand saw
    • Sheet Metal snippers
    • Hammer
    • Chisel
    • Power drill - various sized bits

    I recently removed a "permanent" desk from in our kitchen. I was left with a bunch of drawers that had been stapled together, leaving me unable to take them apart to use the individual boards. Not sure of what I would do with them, they joined my pile of "to fiddle with later" supplies, which housed fragments of an old entertainment unit I had dismantled the week before. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I might just be able to hobble together an incubator. This is what I came up with.

    Two drawers happened to be exactly the same size. When I stacked them together, they made a nice sized box. I used two galvanized hinges to connect them, as well as the little dead bolt lock in the front to help ensure it wouldn't get knocked open somehow.The handle is from my old entertainment unit, and was bolted to the lid for easy opening and closing.
    The left and the right sides both have two ventilation holes, while the front has three. I also put holes to the left and right of the viewing window on the lid for some upper circulation. On the back of the unit I have secured a rubber knob so that when I open the lid, it doesn't fall back on itself and smash all of my wires. The Fan wires run out of the back.

    I cut out foil insulation in exact sizes for each interior wall, and each piece was taped into place using foil insulation tape.


    I had to use a small electric hand saw to roughly cut out the hole for the window. In order to make a ledge for the window to sit on, I took a razor blade and scored 1/2" from the opening all the way around. With a hammer and a chisel, I carefully chipped away at it until I had a decent opening. The window is leftover plexi-glass I had from an older project. I used a bit of wood glue to seal it up a bit, though not perfectly. To compensate for the remaining gaps, I cut up a thin 1" wide oak trim piece and screwed it into place overtop the edges of the window . There's one window underneath the frame-like border. However, since my 15lb cat tried sitting on that a few times, I decided I needed to reinforce it. I added the second window on top of the frame and used the little metal tabs on each of the corners to secure it.

    I used my drill to put a hole into the side of the incubator through which I could feed my thermometer wire.


    This side shows you scribbling that the manufacturers put on the drawers. You can also see where the lamp kit cord exits. The hole that isn't covered has a 1" vinyl tube running through it, down to a plastic butter dish cover, which I turned upside down. There is where I add water to bump up the humidity when needed (I have a humidity gauge taped to the white gutter guard over next to the light on the right hand side).


    I add water by using a cheap refillable plastic ketchup bottle; the kind mainly used at picnics. They've got a narrow tip which allows me to squeeze the water into the tubing without making a mess everywhere.


    Here is a view of what you see inside the window. I poked a hole through the top of a store bought egg and emptied it out, washed it with dish soap and then filled it with liquid antibacterial soap. The cable you see running into it is my outdoor thermometer meter. It's telling me what the internal temperature in the egg is.


    The egg is sitting in an automatic egg turner I picked up from Tractor Supply today. It is an LG auto turner. I took heavy duty snippers meant for cutting sheet metal and clipped the unit in half so that it would fit inside this incubator. Some might cringe, but I don't forsee myself ever hatching more than 20 eggs at a time. This suits my needs.


    Rather than using hardware cloth to divide the inside of the incubator up (got tired of having sliced up fingers), I opted to use a section of plastic gutter guards meant for the eaves of your house. I had leftover from when they were installed last summer, and only needed to use one piece for this. I cut it and used my foil insulation tape to secure it into place.

    I also took a sturdy lid from one of my Rubbermaid container buckets and used it to put just inside of the plastic gutter guard section. It fits snugly. Hopefully it will help keep the incubator more sanitary and easier to clean. To help the chicks stand up when they first hatch, I've covered the lid with paper towel.


    Starting from left to right, this is the upside down butter dish cover. You can see the 1" vinyl tube curving down into it. I cut the end of the tube at an angle so that it won't ever seal up and make it difficult for water to flow through it.

    Here is the lower level thermostat, screwed to the wall, and wired to the lamp kit. The lamp kit is running a 15w bulb.


    I secured it into place using a metal L shaped bracket, which was bolted to the bottom of the incubator, and a 1" one hole strap. The one hole strap and the L shaped bracket were secured together using a nut and bolt. Without a bulb in the socket, the lamp head slips snugly into the opening of the metal bracket and strap.

    This is a 12v CPU fan meant for a computer. I didn't specifically try and find one that was running a neon light, but that is what I had laying around the house! I found an old 12v AC adapter and clipped the connector end off. The AC adapter cable with the dashes on it connected to the red fan wire, and the solid black cable connected to the black wire. The yellow fan wire was left alone, since this controls computer related things not needed here. I duct taped it the two sets of wires together so it couldn't be easily yanked apart. I plugged it into my surge protector to test it, and it worked right off the bat. Not too shabby!

    I added the second lightbulb on this side because when the thermostat turned the other light off, the temperature fluctuated wildly. I also wanted to be able to maintain a more even heat. This light is a lesser wattage (11w), and I have it running constantly. It is in a socket that has a plug directly on the other end of it. This is connected into an extension cord, which I've got taped down to hold it in place.

    The temperature inside the egg has been hovering between 99-101. I don't think I can get better than that.

    I will be putting my first batch of eggs into this incubator on April 1st -- not an April Fool's Joke!
    There will be 6+ Porcelain D'Uccles, in hopes of introducing the lavender gene to my flock.

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  1. WinterChicks
    How much did it cost to make??
  2. YellowChicken
    You didn't mention what kind of thermostat you used?

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