"Dollar Store" DIY Incubator and Notes

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by happybooker1, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. happybooker1

    happybooker1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    After reading a bunch of 'recipes' on the Internet for DIY 'bators, I decided to try my hand at one. First, I hit the local dollar store for: a styrofoam cooler, a picture frame (for the glass), 2 heavy ornamental 'rocks' for heat sinks, a wire bar-b-q griller, and a sponge. Total cost: $6 + tax.

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    I already had duct tape and a thermometer/hygrometer. I calibrated the thermometer using the crushed ice/water method and found it read 32.5 degrees so it was only .5 degrees off -- an amount I could live with.

    Then I cut a hole in the lid of the cooler and installed the glass pane:

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    Hint: I angled the cuts on the edges a bit so the glass had something to rest on & didn't just fall through.

    Then I borrowed an old trouble light from my neighbor, cut a hole for it in the bottom of the cooler, and then taped it in.

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    I tore apart the grill I had bought (it was 2 pieces of wire grill) and cut a slit completely through one side of the cooler and 1/2 way through the other side so I could insert the grill as a shelf for the eggs. You can see it sticking out here:

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    Then I put the 'rocks' in the bottom and turned it on. The bulb was 25w at first and nearly burned up the thermometer!! So I bought a 15W bulb at the hardware store (2 for $3) and that kept the temperature about 125 degrees. At least a temp I could work with!! (I rechecked the thermometer and it was still on .5 degree off so it recovered well).

    I cut some vent holes around the cooler and that helped some but not enough. So I read on here a thread about using a light dimmer switch to control the temp. I went to Home Depot and found just the thing ($15). It's similiar to this one:
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    After playing around with the 'bator for a couple of days I got the temperature steady between 99 and 100 degrees (99.5-100.5 recalibrated). The humidity stays at a constant 45% without the sponge. Here is my complete set-up with eggs:

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    I have it in my hall closet (no ventilation) with the door shut so don't mind the mess!! I plan on adding the wet sponge during lock-down to up the humidity. These are the silkie eggs that took a week to get to me so I don't know how many will hatch but I'm just happy there's only a very tiny swing in temperature and I check it 4-5 times a day!

    Other than the dimmer switch, it was all very cheaply done. I have my fingers crossed for little peepers at the end of the month!!
     
  2. rambunctious

    rambunctious Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That looks amazing! I'm too nervous to try to hatch eggs! Looks like a great set up!
     
  3. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    Keep us updated on your project. Very cool....
     
  4. ldomerese

    ldomerese Out Of The Brooder

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    i have 18 sillkie eggs in a bator simalar to that mine will hatch on halloween when will youur hatch?
     
  5. happybooker1

    happybooker1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Exactly 21 days would be on Halloween. Because the temp may be a little low, I'm expecting them to take 1-2 days longer. In 3 more days I'm gonna candle them & see if I can tell if anything's up.
     
  6. Ok so this may be a totally dumb question, but what are the ornamental rocks for? What is a heat sink?? I don't get it!! Please let me know. Can you show pics of the bottom of inside? With rocks I mean. I so want to try this! I am way excited now cause I looked at prices of incubators and they are to much for me. I think this idea is awesome, can't wait to see how it turns out!
     
  7. happybooker1

    happybooker1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 4, 2012
    North of Houston Texas
    "Heat sinks" are something added to the 'bator to heat up and HOLD the heat when the 'bator is opened or the temp is fluctuating. You can use clean roundish rocks, baby food jars filled with water & sealed or something else. I just happened to find these roundish heavy ceramic garden decorations that I thought would be perfect. I don't have a pic but they're just in the bottom by the light.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012
  8. I see. I was curious about that as well as what stops the light from burning the bottom of the bator? But heat sinks make sense. Also was curious, as soon as the chicks hatch you take them out right? Into another brooder? Are you hoping they do not hatch while you are sleeping? Just wondering seeings how it seems they may get stuck in the BBQ rack. Trying to forsee every possible outcome here. Still want to do this though. I am WAY excited about this. My husband is going tokill me!!LOL!! Glad he loves these chickens!!
     
  9. abChicken

    abChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do u put water in bottom???????-or dont need any????????[​IMG]
     
  10. ldomerese

    ldomerese Out Of The Brooder

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    yeai count in atleast half a day to a day-n-half after 21 days i allways love watching them hatch and see what they will be because the parents are all diff kinds of silkies [​IMG]
     

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