Homemade 'Bator -- ideas on getting temp right?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by happybooker1, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. happybooker1

    happybooker1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    335
    38
    126
    Oct 4, 2012
    North of Houston Texas
    Hi all. First post here. My son and I thought it would be fun to hatch out some eggs so we built a styrofoam cooler/incubator. I plugged it in last night (25w bulb) and it heated up so much the digital thermometer/humidity screen was black! Obviously wayyyyy too hot.

    Should I try to find a 15w bulb or start cutting vent holes in it? If vent holes, where should they be? Down at the bottom by the light or up in the lid? I thought I'd cut a number and then start plugging them up one by one to get the temp to hold at 101.5 degrees (still air incubator).

    Any other ideas?
     
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    36,136
    7,904
    646
    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
  3. Jenny1

    Jenny1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    140
    7
    128
    Sep 22, 2008
    I have no idea, but that is a cool thing to do. I thought it would be fun to let my kids hatch eggs, but I didnt want to buy an incubator... hope you find a way. Post some pics please.
     
  4. WalkingWolf1

    WalkingWolf1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    314
    41
    118
    Feb 15, 2012
    Vermilion
    You don't mention a thermostat. You will HAVE to have a thermostat. We put the wafer and it works great (~$25 ebay). You will need vent holes. Why still air? You built it then add a small computer fan (~$2 ebay) to move the air around. Get rid of the digital thermometer (thanks Chookschick) and get you a couple reptile thermometers from Wal-Mart. I cooked my first batch and the digital was off by 2+ degrees.

    If you haven't already take a look at this guys (Rebel Rooster on BYC) videos http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL515F70A8D06985A3&feature=plcp
     
  5. happybooker1

    happybooker1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    335
    38
    126
    Oct 4, 2012
    North of Houston Texas
    Well, I found a number of plans on the net that I went by and some were made without a thermostat. So I thought I'd try that way first. Thanks for the suggestion on reptile thermometers-- wouldn't have thought of that! I'm sure the digital thermometer is toast!!

    Any idea on the vent holes?
     
  6. WalkingWolf1

    WalkingWolf1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    314
    41
    118
    Feb 15, 2012
    Vermilion
    Put the vent holes around the bottom. You don't say how big the bator is? At least two on each of the shorter sides and at least 3-4 on the longer sides. There easy to plug if needed. The bator HAS to be placed away from any doorways that open to the outside. You want it in an out of the way place with very little foot traffic. Keep it away from windows that will receive sunlight. Sunlight toasted a batch through radiant energy for me. Nothing replaces experience. Stick you some eggs in there and learn it as you go. You can read for 10 years and not read it all.
     
  7. quintinp

    quintinp Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,069
    12
    171
    Oct 22, 2010
    Southern Oklahoma
    I wouldn't say to get Reptile thermometers, they are very unreliable in my experience, and good digital thermometers are hard to come by. My suggestion is to get a mercury thermometer. You can use a mercury candy thermometer, or you can buy a mercury thermometer. I don't recommend the little glass thermometers that have the red liquid in them. They are unreliable, and mercury thermometers react quicker to temperature changes than the others do.
     
  8. quintinp

    quintinp Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,069
    12
    171
    Oct 22, 2010
    Southern Oklahoma
    I would add a fan, and a thermostat. You can use water heater thermostats, wafer thermostats, and even light dimmers. They all work fairly well. I think Cmom is the one person that I have seen that uses the dimmer, with a lot of success. I use water heater thermostats in my cooler incubators. I have wafer thermostats in my Cabinet incubators.
     
  9. WalkingWolf1

    WalkingWolf1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    314
    41
    118
    Feb 15, 2012
    Vermilion
    Quote:Wal-Mart reptile thermometers worked great in "my experience", were easy to find and a cheap solution. Mercury will be harder to find in today's market.
     
  10. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    36,136
    7,904
    646
    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    All I can recommend thermometer wise is: get a good quality one that works. If possible, compare it's reading with a few others'. If the temperature in the incubator is not right it could delay or completely mess up your hatch. So the correct temperature is vital. We made a very, very stupid mistake with a cheap thermometer once:
    When I did my very first hatch it was in a friend's home made disaster of an incubator. He bought the thing in good faith and paid a lot of money for it, so we filled it with eggs for him (57 eggs) and from day one the temperature wasn't right. It was too high, it was too low. Every time we opened it to turn the eggs it took up to 20 minutes to get to the right temperature again. We all blamed the thermostat. After 3 very stressful weeks we hatched 7 chicks. All but one were in the row furthest away from the heat source. Of the remaining eggs the rows under the heat source were cooked. We rebuilt the incubator and installed a fan. Once again the temperature wasn't right...
    I then borrowed another incubator from a friend for my own personal use. The temperature wasn't right. My friend assured us that it worked fine by him... What were the chances of BOTH thermostats being faulty? We tested the thermometer we were using in both incubators. We compared the readings between that and DH's very fancy one that he uses for brewing... The thermometer we were using's reading was off by 36 degrees.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by