Adventure into building an incubator and hatching!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Kyochan, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. Kyochan

    Kyochan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, first off. Hello everyone! I have owned chickens for a few years now but have only recently gotten really into them besides regarding them as the 'rats-with-wings-that-get-into-the-garbage' lol. I've learned so much from this site and have gotten sucked right into the chicken love! The next logical step is hatching eggs!

    Now, I saw several styrofoam incubators and since I had a styro cooler on hand I decided to try and make one. Here is what I have so far.

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    Two cut out windows with glass for viewing. Made from old picture frames. Front viewing glass is covered with a simple folded 'drape' made of electrical tape and paper towels.

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    View from the top down into the incubator.

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    View with top off. The dividers are made from the frames from the pictures, chicken wire, and electrical tape.

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    Simple lamp I had laying around. Cut a hole in the bottom and put it through. Will cover the excess space left by the hole to help trap in heat.

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    don't mind the egg. It's not fertile. I'm just a visual learner so wanted to see an egg in it. There is a small pan with water under the eggs. The only place I had left to put a tray.

    My current concerns/to-do-list:

    *Fill in hole around lamp.

    *Is the water tray to big? Do I need a sponge?

    *I need to get something to track the temp and humidity. Any suggestions on a specific type/brand you guys have used?

    *My mother is very concerned about a fire due to the lamp being in a styrofoam container. Is she right to be worried?

    *The lamp is pretty small. To help boost the temp. up would it be good to add aluminum on the inside walls of the container?

    *Also about aluminum, would you suggest covering the frame separating the eggs from the lamp with it? I've heard it will help keep the eggs from being directly exposed to the heat and help all the eggs warm evenly.

    Thanks in advanced and I will keep you all posted on my progress from build to hatch!
     
  2. gimmie birdies

    gimmie birdies Overrun With Chickens

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    I dry hatch now in cardboard box homemade bators,
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    and like this one that is wooden I made:
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    but I have hatched in the styrofoam kind with water bowls like that one. I found it to be
    TOO much water, even with air holes. so keep it in mind. if I did put water in a bator, which I don't it would be the size of a small yogurt cup then half full.
     
  3. gimmie birdies

    gimmie birdies Overrun With Chickens

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    I have foil around inside my box, with heat shields for the lamp, and pie pans to rest in. my bulbs are not real hot 8x9'' box 15 w and in the wood box 25w.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2013
  4. Kyochan

    Kyochan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sadly the cardboard box one would not work unless I shrank the sizing down. My dog is great with the baby checks but very curious about new things so I need to put the incubator up high.

    I took out about half the water in that tray due to your findings. Hopefully it works well. Still waiting on payday to buy readers and gauges. I did put aluminum in after I read your comment but I probably should have asked first; where do you suggest lining it? I put it along the 3 walls and the divider on the egg side of the incubator. Should I have put them on the side with the light as well?

    Also (lots of questions lol) any suggestions for keeping the heat in? The lamp is only a 15 wa as that's all I had. It seems to heat up but the heat escapes quickly so IRS not staying steady and my unfertile test egg bounces between room temp to slightly cold to the touch
     
  5. gimmie birdies

    gimmie birdies Overrun With Chickens

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    for cooler size I would use a 25w atleast
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    this is my small box, the metal bowl is only for the lamp the small white dish is where I had water, I had a lid for this box but is off to photo. I have my lamp with heat shield resting in that bowl for protection, but I also just put foil in bottom of box too. my lamp is a clamp lamp and I have a slit in the side of box and the heat rises and my eggs are high above it. . In my styrofoam box I cut a hole in the styrofoam side and poked the lamp through, then put on the bulb. I hatched out 7 chicks today and yesterday and more coming tomorrow. I might have 2 that will either be late arrivers, or no shows. but with my dry hatch, the chicks all hatched with nice moist innershells. I hope this has been helpful.
     
  6. Kyochan

    Kyochan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So sorry I have not updated in so long! I fell sick and then got swamped with trying to catch up on the work I had missed!

    Gimmie- Your advice replies have been kind of like my 'go to' today as I finally had the time (and paycheck) to get the rest of my supplies together and set things up.

    I made a few changes. First, as I mentioned, I had lined the sides with aluminum foil around the areas the eggs would be and the area seperating the eggs from the lamp. I also changed the bulb. Instead of believing my sister when she said there was a 15 watt bulb in the lamp I checked and found out it was a 7 watt! So I picked up a set of 15 watt bulbs along with a reader for the temperature and the humidity.

    Now, I could not put the light in sideways as its part of a long metal pole and base BUT I managed to work around that by propping the incubator up with books so the bulb rested closer to the bottom, allowing the heat to rise up. I set in my gauges and from 2pm until just now at 7pm it has been a constant battle to try and find the proper balance of temp and humidity. Opposite of my previous problem of not generating enough heat I am now generating to much heat! The temp seems to bounce between 104 to 108 at one point! The humidity was also a problem but I think I have that figured out.

    I realized I'm an idiot and adding more water to the same bowl will only change the quantity of water and not the surface area. *face palm* so when the humidity dropped to 38% I added another container (a lid from a pasta sauce lid) and it shot up to 50% on average! Yay! However, that still left the problem of the temp being to high. When it hit 108 and kept climbing I started putting in vent holes on the fronts and sides, within easy reach to cover and plug if the temp drops to much. However, with nearly half a dozen vent holes the most I have been able to to is get the temp down to 104 and hold steady there. I cannot get it to go any lower without putting more holes that I had to immediately plug up when the humidity started dropping to much. I'm now sitting at a temp of 106 and a humidity of 47% holding steady for the past hour and stumped for what to do.

    Any ideas guys? I'm concerned with getting the temp down to much and it not being able to heat up at night as its been getting cold here at night (no central heating or air, so we are reliant on fans and space heaters). I'll have to turn it off over night and for several hours tomorrow as I'm not comfortable leaving it running while I sleep/work until I have it sorted out but luckily tomorrow will be an early day and I will be off until monday! So I will have all weekend to plug it in, leave it on, and pull my hair out getting everything evened out. Okay, I've babbled long enough! Have a picture! lol.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Kyochan

    Kyochan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I spent a while playing with vent holes and more trays of water and I think I have everything going good so I set 6 eggs last night. Not sure if they are all fertile but the roosters have been actively 'dancing' with the ladies so we will see!
     
  8. gimmie birdies

    gimmie birdies Overrun With Chickens

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    good luck! I have chicks that are one week old, and I just added one blue Andelusian, and I have chicks hatching on sun. I won't be home, but I will be coming home, I hope I don't miss anything.
     
  9. Kyochan

    Kyochan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! It's day 3-ish and it's been crazy already. The temp has been fluctuating between an average of 100-104 degrees but last night it dropped to 95 because I was sick and passed out without closing the vents when dark came and the cold rolled in. It took a while to get it back up so they sat in roughly 97 degree temps for about 9 hours. I hope that didn't completely mess up the experiment but I can't candle for 4 more days to see whats going on in the eggs so I am just crossing my fingers and praying.

    On the bright side I fixed the whole 'need to raise the humidity but i'm running out of room to put water bowls!'. The solution was so simple it made me facepalm. Wet pantyliners and pushpins. lol!
     
  10. abserbean

    abserbean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I love seeing these homemade incubators, hoping you have a successful hatch! I'm researching making one now,hoping to talk the hubby into some hatching next spring.
     

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