building my own incubator! PIC heavy! ** Update More Pics ***

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by midget_farms, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    Last year I ordered a box of chicks from McMurray - I spent a little over $100 for birds & shipping.

    This year I decided that I would get an incubator & do the hatching myself for less.

    I reserched the net for plans etc. Watched some vids on Youtube & decided to build it out of what ever I can find around the house & spend as little as possible.

    Plus - I wanted to set more eggs than can usually be set in the still air incs I've seen for sale cheap.

    I had a large pile of cedar 1x3's 38 inches long left over from my picket fence project this summer.

    So I built a box 38 inches by 16 inches with a lid.

    I had a couple of henges in the garage so I used them to hinge the lid. I did purchase 2 latches @ $2.95 each to latch it closed.

    [​IMG]

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    I wanted some insulation but didn't have any styrofoam. So I had to splurge for a 4x8 sheet of 1/2 inch foam board that was foil faced on one side.
    I only used half of this (actually less than half) so though I spent $10 for the board - I'm only claiming $5 for this project.
    [​IMG]

    So - I have the box + insulation, hinges & latches for just under $11.

    For the heat source I used 2 of my brooder lights. The $8 ones you get a walmart that have the metal bell to focus the light.

    Well it turns out that you can unscrew the light portion of this & remove the metal bell thing. I drilled 2 holes in the side of my box just barely large enough for these to fit into. Since I already hat these -& I can remove them to use again as brooder lights - cost was $0

    [​IMG]

    Next I wanted a false floor for the chicks to hatch out onto. Again I turned to my trusty 1x3 cedar boards & built a frame that I attached 1/4 in. hardware cloth ( the left overs from my brooder project. Again $0

    [​IMG]

    I now needed a way to turn the eggs w/o opening the lid. This took some thought. I really wanted an automatic turner - but didn't want the expense - I figure I can turn the eggs by hand 3x per day - once before leaving for work, once when I get home from work & once before bed. Not that tough as long as I don't leave town for the first 2 weeks (not really a problem).

    Anyway - I cut a board out of plywood that was notched around the light bulbs & using an old paint roller extension pole I had I created a turning system.

    [​IMG]

    I drilled a hole on each end of the box just barely large enough for the pole piece to fit through. Then I notched the pole sections to hold the plywood section. This will allow me to remove the turner at around week 2 when they no longer need to be turned. I simply twist the pole sections by hand & the eggs are rotated 180*. This cost $0 because again - stuff I had laying around.

    [​IMG]

    I needed a temp/humidity gage. I looked at the local farm places but they had none. So off to eBay I went. I found one that is digital - is accurate to +- 1* & it cost just $0.99 - but it was $6.99 in shipping from China & it took a couple weeks to arrive.

    So that brings the total to $18.98

    I still need to buy (2) 25 watt bulbs & a peice of plexiglass to cover the lid so I can watch the progress. I wish I had a piece of glass or plexi I could use instead of buying - but I don't. In the end I bet the plexi will cost me as much as I've already spent & light bulbs cost is negligable.

    So tell me what you think!
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2010
  2. RioLindoAz

    RioLindoAz Sleeping

    Jul 8, 2007
    Yuma, Arizona
    Looks like its coming along fabulously. Make sure to keep us updated!
     
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    30,361
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    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Great job so far, what will you be using for a thermostat?

    Will you have a hole with a tube to add water?

    That thing is HUGE...

    come build me one [​IMG]
     
  4. ginbart

    ginbart Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 9, 2008
    Bloomsburg, PA
    Now I'm going to have to bookmark this thread and try to make one. Darn [​IMG]
     
  5. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    Quote:I'm not planning to use a thermostat. Once I get the glass on the top & the bulbs (tomorrow) I will plug it in & run it for a few days to see what temp it runs at. I just plan to increase or decrease the bulb wattage until I get what I want.

    I don't actually plan to set any eggs until late January or early February, but I got an early start.

    Since I will just staple or screw down some egg cartons onto the turner board - I'm thinking I can set 5 or 6 dozen at a time.

    Not that I need that many birds - but they say set lots more than you intend to hatch. Plus I'm not really sure of the fertility of my flock. It should be fine with 2 roosters, but you never know until you know.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2010
  6. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    I think ya may need to think about getting a thermostat. Without one you will have to babysit it 24/7. I also didn't see anything about a fan? The distance between the high point of your turner an the low point of the hatching shelf looks like around a foot. Air layers so if you get the middle set at 100*F the top will be 120+ an the bottom will be less than 90. Because of this all still air incubators are single level an all multilevel incubators have a fan.
     
  7. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    Quote:Thanks for that - I was wondering if this would be an issue or not. Last night I pulled the fan out of my old computer (don't ask what a new one cost me - that would blow the budget) It runs on 12 volts. I'm not sure how to power it yet, but I'm pretty sure I can get it set up in the box. Maybe some batteries & attach it to the false floor under one of the light bulbs.

    So AA batteries are 1.5v - so I will need 8 AA batteries to run this fan. I'm not sure they will last 3 weeks though - maybe I can figure something else out. I'll keep you up to date on this as I work it out. I may wire up an adapter to allow it to plug into a 12v converter plug.
     
  8. FF

    FF Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 9, 2010
    Tennessee
    Quote:Thanks for that - I was wondering if this would be an issue or not. Last night I pulled the fan out of my old computer (don't ask what a new one cost me - that would blow the budget) It runs on 12 volts. I'm not sure how to power it yet, but I'm pretty sure I can get it set up in the box. Maybe some batteries & attach it to the false floor under one of the light bulbs.

    So AA batteries are 1.5v - so I will need 8 AA batteries to run this fan. I'm not sure they will last 3 weeks though - maybe I can figure something else out. I'll keep you up to date on this as I work it out. I may wire up an adapter to allow it to plug into a 12v converter plug.

    Do you have an old mower battery you could charge and use? Or an old car battery? I don't think the 8 AA batteries will do anything. If you don't have an old one, go to walmart and get a $20 lawn and garden everstart. It should make teh fan last a while. would put a little $0.25 switch on the line side of the power from the battery to teh fan to be able to take teh battery off and charge it etc. You can get a little 12 volt charger for $10 at walmart. I know that is $30 but this will be exactly what you need. Or if you have teh old battery around then it will not cost you anything. Good Luck.
     
  9. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 25, 2009
    South Alabama
    Quote:Thanks for that - I was wondering if this would be an issue or not. Last night I pulled the fan out of my old computer (don't ask what a new one cost me - that would blow the budget) It runs on 12 volts. I'm not sure how to power it yet, but I'm pretty sure I can get it set up in the box. Maybe some batteries & attach it to the false floor under one of the light bulbs.

    So AA batteries are 1.5v - so I will need 8 AA batteries to run this fan. I'm not sure they will last 3 weeks though - maybe I can figure something else out. I'll keep you up to date on this as I work it out. I may wire up an adapter to allow it to plug into a 12v converter plug.

    It's looking good...still a few tweaks to go, eh? [​IMG]

    A computer fan running off of 8 AA batteries for 21 days isn't going to be cheap. You might want to find a wall-wart, maybe something in the 9-12 volt range to power your fan.

    It may not be an issue but I'd be careful with those light sockets imbedded in the wood like they are...they get awfully hot and can eventually bring the wood to a "charred state" and then to....[​IMG]

    How are you going to turn your eggs?

    Ed
     
  10. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    Correct on the heat - the sockets are actually ceramic so they will not get hot enough to burn the wood. Plus - with using (2) 25 watt bulbs - the draw should be small enough to not cause an issue. If it does get hot though I can push the bulbs in further.

    The turner is described above. Basically I twist the blue rod & that will rotate the board. I have to do this by hand, but that was cheaper than trying to buy or build an elaborate auto turner.


    As for the juice to the fan - I plan to run to Radio Shack today & get a small round socket I can plug my 12 converter into. This way I can plug in the converter & it will run the fan - that part should be fairly cheap.

    Thermostat - I'm not sure this will be an issue yet - but my box is pretty tight - so heat may continue to build up. I like the idea of a house thermo + a relay. I'm sure I have a relay in the garage - but as stated before the wireing may be an issue. Plus then I need to power the thermostat too. Maybe attach it to the cooling fan since that will be on 12v already.

    I'm off to the store - I'll let you know what I find when I get back.

    (P.S - this thing is starting to get complicated!)
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2010

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