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Super Budget Incubator

By ekalf33, Jun 7, 2015 | Updated: Jun 7, 2015 | |
  1. ekalf33
    Ok, I have been lurking around the forum for a while. Growing up in AZ we have always had chickens and other animals. Now that I have a family of my own I am understanding the value of having livestock to take care of as well as for them to take care of us. I have 8 fully grown chickens and we have another 13 chickens that are going to lay within the month. I enjoy the freash eggs and we supply my parents as well our neighbors with plenty of eggs. Recently my youngest 2 children went with me on a visit to the local duck ponds where we found some duck eggs. I have been wanting to get into quail but have been nervous about the cost of an incubator. So my 4 yr old daughter demanded that we bring the eggs home so they don't die, now I have to make an incubator but I am super strapped for cash due to the introduction of the 3 children into our home, we are adopting them. I want to be able to teach them about life and stuff and it would be fun to have some ducks running around that they could have as pets and be responsible for. So my quest was to make an incubator, fast, and cheap!First thing I did was brainstorm and with the help from my dad we figured that a dehydrator would work perfectly for our needs.

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    He had one that was going for a yard sale and he gave it to me. It was super dirty and wasn't heating but with a little cleaning I got it to work agian. He was going to sell it for 5 bucks but my price was free. The trays looked like this and there was only about an inch or inch and a half detween the layers.So I cut themI kept the inside to it. For this part you could use a utility knife or a dremal. I had a knife close by and the material was pretty brittle from all the years of drying so it went pretty quick.


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    Remember how I was saying that I went to the duck pond? Well we feed the ducks while wewere there. We fed them popcorn and we ended up useing all the poop corn. I figureded that I could use the plastic from the clear popcorn cocontainer to make a neat little window for the kids to watch, or look at the eggs through. So for this part I whipped out my dremal and used a little cut off blade. I drew a design on the plastic that would fit the top and then drew a design on the top about a quater inch smaller than the plastic. I just used sicisors to cut throu through the clear plastic. Then I used some gutter silicon that I had laying around. I think its probbally a couple of bucks at a hardware store. So by now I am in it about 10 bucks if I was to pay for anything. (Depending on your yardsaleing skills!)It's probably a good time to mention that hot glue doesn't work. It sticks to the lid super good but not to the clear plastic container. Also if you have any ugly marker lines due to using a permanent marker you can use some alcohol based solvent to clean those up, including rubbing alcohol. Ok more pictures!

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    Ok in case you missed it I used a little peice of plastic to cover about half of the hole in the top for a little bit of ventalation. I don't know if it is too much or not enough, but I am sure with some help of the forum I will find out what I need to do. Ok what's next?...Ok, so the thermometer that is in the picture is broken... I told you I was doing a budget build! Jk I just throw it in there to show what to do. Later on I went to Walmart and got a new one for 2 bucks. I was flat out broke, I had to dig the change out of the car but I got it. Later I will upgrade to a hydro thermometer for around 10 bucks. I digress, Ok so throw in a thermometer crank that baby up.


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    Mine didn't work so I unscrewed everything cleaned it all and put everythin back together and it worked like a charm. Mine has a little dial to control the temperature. They run a lttle hot so put it on the coldest setting and go up from there.I didn't do that.So I niticed very quickly that it gets hot. Too hot. I lifted off the cover for the fan that has the heating coils on it. ..... actually first I unpluged it. Always unplug anything that you work on.THEN I took the cover off the fan. On the underside of this cover is where the temperature dial is located there was a little peice of metal that was limiting the dial from spinning so I just cut that off. Now I can turn it cooler and check the tempurature. Now before anyone jumps down my throat...I checked to make sure it was not going to explode. The thermostat is a wafer type (pretty lucky huh) and all the dail does is screw in a screw to make the gap closer or further away, no actual electrical connection happening. Plus I figure that I am making it cooler, not hotter and I was actually making it safer.I forgot to take a before picture, but you can see where I cut it off.



    Mine didn't work so I unscrewed everything cleaned it all and put everythin back together and it worked like a charm. Mine has a little dial to control the temperature. They run a lttle hot so put it on the coldest setting and go up from there.I didn't do that.So I niticed very quickly that it gets hot. Too hot. I lifted off the cover for the fan that has the heating coils on it. ..... actually first I unpluged it. Always unplug anything that you work on.THEN I took the cover off the fan. On the underside of this cover is where the temperature dial is located there was a little peice of metal that was limiting the dial from spinning so I just cut that off. Now I can turn it cooler and check the tempurature. Now before anyone jumps down my throat...I checked to make sure it was not going to explode. The thermostat is a wafer type (pretty lucky huh) and all the dail does is screw in a screw to make the gap closer or further away, no actual electrical connection happening. Plus I figure that I am making it cooler, not hotter and I was actually making it safer.I forgot to take a before picture, but you can see where I cut it off.


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    I put an extra tray underneath the one I cut and put 8 to 10 small flat rocks on it to help prevent too much fluctuation in temperature. Then take a reading every hour and adjust accordingly.I used another thermometer that my dad had laying around to make sure that the other onewas working ccorrectly. I also placed that one halfway inside a sealed 8 oz water bottle that I flattened to fit inside the bator. I wanted to get an idea of what tempuratures where on the inside of the eggs. I placed a small bowl of water inside and waited to 24 hours and was impressed by how steady the tempuratures stayed.Just add eggs and rotate.


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    If any of you have any suggestions I would love to hear them .My total cost was 2.24 for a thermometer. If I had to buy everything it would have been about 15 bucks.

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