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Heat source for homemade bators?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Lach Cnoc Farm, May 19, 2009.

  1. Lach Cnoc Farm

    Lach Cnoc Farm Songster

    Apr 16, 2009
    Western Washington
    what do you guys use as heat sources for your homemade incubators. I am seriously thinking of building one, especially with all the problems i have had with my hovabator lately. My brother is an electrician so i am not worried about the wiring or anything but wanted to know what works best for all of you that have built your own.

    If i make one, i would like it to set at least 4dozen eggs..and i would really like for the bator to have the same temp over all the eggs. and what about humidity? do you place the water at the top or the bottom(close to or away from the heat source)?

    has anyone used plywood construction? I want it to look good too and had planned on staining it and possibly clear coating it all over to help keep humidity in. anyone ever done this? would it be toxic to the eggs do you think?

    I have looked at some of the incubators on here but still find myself a little lost and with some more questions. I really wanna try this..

  2. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Crowing

    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    There are as many answers as there are people who build bators. Rope of large christmas lights, one light bulb(or more), under-cabinet puck lights, flexwatt heat tape, heating elements from curling irons, standard industry available elements for the HB and LG, and oh so many more.

    Some really highly technical and some - screw in a light bulb.

    LOL enjoy. It's all about figuring out what materials you want to work with and what you want to spend.
  3. CARS

    CARS Songster

    I never had any problems with keeping the heat steady in my 1800's wood incubator with a modern element and fan (petiatric.com) BUT my humidity was just all over the place. Even after running it wet as possible to try to get the redwood to seal up (swell up), I couldn't keep it even. I tried pans of water with sponges, aquarium air pumps and stones, and finally the mother of all things humid, a reptile fogger.
  4. dancingbear

    dancingbear Songster

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    I'd like to suggest, if using wood of any kind, that you seal the interior really well, and caulk the seams. You'll need a sealer that is both water-proof, and able to stand up to disinfectants, such as bleach. Something like Varathane would do the job. If you let it cure well before using the 'bator, it shouldn't continue to out-gas. Acrylic would be good, and there's a product called Stays Clear, that's supposed to be pretty good. Water-based, so it doesn't have the fumes that Varathane and many other have, so safer to work with. I haven't tried it yet myself, but have read it's a good choice.

    If you fill in the seams well enough, (maybe with several coats, letting it dry completely between coats) you could skip the caulk, as long as there are no cracks or gaps. That would also make for easier cleaning between hatches.

    Then you could finish the outside any way you want. Let it cure well before use though, so there won't be fumes to be sucked into the 'bator's intake vents.

    You'll probably still need to insulate it, I like the foil-bubble-wrap style reflective heat barrier material, like the stuff in that beautiful cherry-finish incubator that won the contest. It's light, easy to work with, you can cut it with scissors, and seal the seams with a special tape. You could probably make an insulating "shell" that you could remove easily for cleaning. If your shelves were removable free-standing racks, rather than anchored to the walls, you could take out the shelves, slide out the insulation, wash everything, let it dry, and put it back together very easily.
  5. Birchwood

    Birchwood In the Brooder

    Apr 17, 2009
    Southern Vermont
    i have experimented with an insolated styrofoam cooler, a 25 watt light bulb, computer fan, water pan etc. It seems to hold the temp. steady! I am on my second batch of eggs, the first were not good eggs....so we'll see in 15 days if I have suceeded!
  6. roche477

    roche477 Songster

    May 15, 2009
    Malvern, Arkansas
    I thought about using a light bulb and computer fan in a styrofoam ice chest too. I might have to give it a go now and see how it works!

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