Easy No Build Cheap Homemade Incubator

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by cloudswinger, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. cloudswinger

    cloudswinger In the Brooder

    Oct 24, 2008
    Ok, so the title sounds like an infomercial. I'm new to this, and just ordered some quail eggs, and figured I might need an incubator. So after looking around the internet and around the house this is what I came up with:

    1 upright freezer - which still works, but not currently in use
    1 mini room heater - ceramic heating element, with fan and thermostat
    1 meat thermometer - with remote probe
    1 solar powered knex building set
    1 electric timer -
    1 web cam

    Ok, so I just stick the room heater in the freezer, and use the meat thermometer to calibrate the temp. The freezer is well insulated so the heater is not on for very long at all. I bought an extra fan to see if that will help with the thermal gradient since the fan on the heater cuts off when the heater stops. I'm in the process of calibrating it now.

    I'm using the knex set to power an automatic turner, since I can plug a lamp into the timer and use the lamp to power the solar panel. I haven't finished that design yet, but I think I'm doing something with a lazy susan.

    And a web cam to see inside, since I didn't want to keep opening and closing the door.

    Haven't figured out the humidity thing yet, but average humidity in Florida is about 50% at least, so it's probably fine to use ambient humidity?

    The other thing is how to vent it, which I think I might either stick straws in the door seals, or maybe keep it slightly ajar.

    Am I missing anything?
  2. pipermark

    pipermark Songster

    Jan 26, 2007
    Vent it, drill some holes on the bottom and top, its important to have vent holes in that create a circulation of air, even with the fan.

    Humidity needs to be higher, just get a cooking pan , fill it with water and leave it above the heat source. More times than not hatches fail because of too little humidity, not to much (IMHO).

    Last thing is if you can think of a way to turn the eggs automatically, if not dont forget how important that is to the hatching process.

    good luck , I use a homemade incubator myself.
  3. Bandana

    Bandana Songster

    Heaters and fans tend to decrease humidity. So I'm told, anyway. If you have another fan in there in addition to the one on the heater, I'd be interested to know why you would need to ventilate. I wouldn't want to put holes in a working freezer if I didn't have to, but I'm probably wrong about the ventilation thing..... Cool idea with the freezer. In more ways than one. [​IMG]
  4. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Quote:You have to have fresh air inside the bator for oxygen, eggs are porous so they allow oxygen to be exchanged through the shells in order to keep the chicks alive.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2008
  5. cloudswinger

    cloudswinger In the Brooder

    Oct 24, 2008
    well, I stuck my hygrometer inside and it was only about 30%, so I'll definitely have to up that. And with all the wires coming out the door, it won't close completely, so I think it's probably ventilated enough. I really don't want to drill holes in a working freezer either.

    The second fan is to circulate the air within the space, otherwise the heater fan just blows all the hot air to the top and shuts off when the bottom is hot enough. And since hot air rises, the top is a bit warmer than the bottom.
  6. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    I was wondering what the temp differential would be between the top and bottom in such a large space.

    Any chance you could find a free non working dorm fridge, maybe off craigslist or freecycle? might be easier to regulate temp and humidity in a smaller space.

    I use a homade 48 qt cooler bator myself.
  7. ChickenTender63

    ChickenTender63 Songster

    Sep 28, 2008
    Alamance, NC
    venting with drinking straws will not work as they will crush when you close the door. You will more than likely need to make sure the door is closed so that you can maintain consistent temp and humidity levels. If the door stays ajar, you will not be able to keep consistent levels at all.

    Find a free non-working dorm size fridge somewhere (they are everywhere) and set it up by drilling your vents and control wires through the side of the fridge and then seal your holes with silicone. You could also rig some sort of egg turner as well. I feel you would have a much better success ratio with this manner. Otherwise, I think you would have just as much luck placing your eggs on the sidewalk to hatch.

    Good luck.
  8. cloudswinger

    cloudswinger In the Brooder

    Oct 24, 2008
    I have reusable straws that are a bit thicker and would not crush. But anyway, I just stick a chopstick to keep the door ajar at 1/4 inch. That seems to be working, at least for temps which are staying right around 99-100 now. My humidity is still a bit low I think. When I had the door closed, the humidity was up around 70%.

    I'm in Florida, I'll bet that on a sunny day I can get it up over 100 degrees on the sidewalk, especially under a clear dome. Maybe I could stick some eggs in the car! But I just found a styrofoam cooler today, so if this fails, I may use that.
  9. DulcyDoll

    DulcyDoll Songster

    Sep 11, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
    It's a god idea.....but I still think you will need more ventilation.

    I agree with above posters, and think you should try to find a non-working freezer that you are not worried about drilling into. You could also cut a square on the front of it and put a double layer of plexi glass so you can see inside the bator, drill a hole for the cords to enter/exit. You could even make a hole with a tube to refill water troughs to keep the humidity up without opening the door.

    There are so many more options with a non-working freezer!!
  10. geareduplyn

    geareduplyn Songster

    Jun 2, 2008
    Salley SC
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2008

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