Building an incubator...a quick question

rosecreek

In the Brooder
10 Years
Aug 19, 2009
19
0
22
SoKY
Okay, so I have two of the nifty (sarcasm) little Styrofoam 'bators. I say nifty (with sarcasm) because they are hard as all get-out to clean, they have no class, and I have WAY too many eggs for the both of them to handle. Also, I set one out on the back porch a couple of weeks ago to clean, and the dogs chewed it up pretty good. I put it back together with duct tape. Surprisingly, it's holding heat and humidity rather well.

My question is this...I want to build a larger incubator out of a cabinet. Could I take apart the two incubators I have and use the heating elements out of those in the new incubator? They both work fine, so I figure why not? But I don't want to lose even one of my little babies. I don't want to take a chance.

I want to do something quick...I need to do something quick. I set eggs once a week or more. Today alone I set 43 eggs. I have NO room in either of them now!!

THANK YOU BIG TIME!!
 

Serrin

Songster
10 Years
Jul 19, 2009
3,110
64
213
30 Miles West of Spokane, WA.
First things first:
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!!!
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Now, down to business:

If you're going to use two heating elements from the notorious styrofoam incubators, you're going to have to find a way to run them in tandem off of one thermostat. You would never in a million years be able to get two thermostats to agree at any given time. One would probably end up doing all the work if each element were to be run off of independent thermostats. So, find a thermostat in which you can run two or more heating elements simultaneously. Though I can't imagine a home incubator being so large that it would require more than two elements anyway.

By the sounds of it, you have a few weeks to round this all up and formulate a plan, as those two incubators are already in use. Correct? Or are you speaking of a different pair of the "plastic fantastic" 'bators? Either way, a cabinet style incubator is a bit different when it comes to regulating the temperature and humidity I would imagine. They're so much larger!

The best advice I could give you is to follow this link. https://www.backyardchickens.com/chicken-coop-incubator.html This is a listing of many different sizes and styles of incubators made by other BYC members over the years. There are some VERY clever ideas in there. When you find one that fits with what you have in mind, try contacting the member that submitted that design and then pick their brains for any additional details you might need to complete your own design. Most of the folks here are very helpful and eager to share their ideas as well as to clue you in to the pit falls and brick walls they have run into with their own designs. Experience is the best teacher of all you know!!
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When you get it all figured out and built, I hope you'll post pictures and a step by step of how you did it. You just never know, you could maybe even win a contest around here with it!
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Good Luck, and again
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patandchickens

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
12,520
335
341
Ontario, Canada
I can't see why not -- they used to sell kits that included, basically, the same heating element and wafer thermostat assembly that you get in the hovabators, so you could install them in the container of your choice. You'd just be making your own kit <g>.

I also don't see that there'd be any problem with the thermostats/elements -- see if you can use just one heating element in your container, or if it will be so big (or underinsulated) that you NEED both, wire them in parallel downstream of the thermostat, so that a single thermostat turns them BOTH on or off at the same time. If you feel compelled to use that second thermostat I suppose you could wire it in series with the other one, as a fail-safe, but of course the more cr*p you put in the incubator the less room for eggs
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But you do need some time with no eggs in the 'bator, as it will take some time to do the disassembly and reconstruction, and then you will need to test it for at least a day or two to make sure it is going to run well enough to trust your eggs to.

Good luck, have fun,

Pat
 
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Barred Rocker

cracked egg
10 Years
Jul 15, 2009
790
32
189
King and Queen Co, Va
I agree with patandchickens. I think a single thermostat will be the best bet also if you use a wood cabinet type I'd go to Lowes or Home Depot and get some aluminum faced insulation and line the inside or it may not hold the heat and humidity as well as your styrofoam bator. The concept is the same but if your new one is bigger it'll take longer to heat up.
 

rosecreek

In the Brooder
10 Years
Aug 19, 2009
19
0
22
SoKY
Thanks everyone! I'm going to try to borrow a few incubators from a friend, and use mine for my cabinet incubator. I found a cabinet yesterday after calling my Dad!! WooHoo, it'll be less money that I have to spend! Of course it will need some work, but I'm no stranger to that.

I think I'm going to try just one element in it at first, in the bottom since heat rises. (Hum..."rises" doesn't look right to me this morning.) I'll see where to go from there, I guess. If I can build my chicken coop, which is 8'x50', and separated into 8 smaller coops to separate the breeds, and if I can build my kids a playhouse, complete with a bay window, I think I could figure out and build the incubator of my dreams. I hope.

But for today, everything has to take a backseat. My basset hound has decided to go into labor...
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Thanks for all the info. I love this site!!!
 

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