Homemade Bator - UP and RUNNING!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by equus2, May 18, 2008.

  1. equus2

    equus2 Songster

    I wish I had a video of DH and I building this thing! [​IMG]

    OF course, I have to DO it myself, to understand the ins and outs, and for him, reading instructions (thanks miss priss, etc) is akin to asking for directions. Took a few missteps. But, we did it! [​IMG]

    All that's left to do: a few vent holes, mounting the fan and a shield to protect the eggs (and hopefully chicks) from the intense heat of the bulb, and we're DONE. AFter several hours of operation, weasel temp is 99, humidity is high yet, around 60. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    He now wants to build his own prototype, out of an irrigation controller box, complete with turner, to prove "it can be done." My neighbor has the bug to try an old frig.

    Cost - about $20 - should've been less. (I could have disassembled a discarded lamp from the thrift store, and found a fan for about nothing, but wasn't patient enough)

    Stryo container - free, Walmart
    Plexiglass - scrap, 1.25, Lowe's
    Thermostat - $8, lowe's
    Lamp kit - $8, lowe's
    Screen wire - ?? scrap laying around
    Light bulbs - $3.50, Lowe's
    Fan (ordered from geeks.com) - about $7 with shipping
    Power cord/adaptor - free, from old cell phone
    Misc. - duct tape, nuts, washers, bolts about $3

    Thanks, to everyone who answered my questions over the past few days!!! I should be hatching in about a week.....will post the results and pics!
  2. Vamp-A-Billy Princess

    Vamp-A-Billy Princess Songster

    Apr 13, 2008
    I'm impressed. Cant wait to see the babies you hatch.
  3. donnap1967

    donnap1967 Songster

    Mar 15, 2008
    Northern NJ
    Did you build the same one as Missy Prissy? I am curious because I am having a bit of trouble getting the thermostat set to just the right position to keep the temperature where I need it.

    I have plenty of time since I am not getting my eggs until after the holiday weekend but I have been testing it on and off for a few days now. The best I have been able to accomplish so far is a temperature that goes from about 97.8 at it's lowest to 100.8 at it's peak.

    How did you manage to get your temps to stay at 99?
  4. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    The one area I would like to see everyone spend some real money is on a wafer thermostat. Temp control is at the heart of our incubation efforts, yet we are ready to trust it to a rather imprecise water heater unit, one not known for precise control.

    Someone will now come forward and tell how well theirs works. Thats well and good, but I work in industry and understand how these sorts of things are constructed. I would scrounge and beg everything else, if I had to (and have), but I would buy a wafer and switch thermostat.

    Good job on completeing your own bator. You have joined the elite!
  5. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Yes, elderroo, I'm going to come along and say it... LOL.

    I've hatched several batches of chicks with my cooler-bators and my crude, rather imprecise water heater thermostat... [​IMG] Lowest hatch rate was 70% and that was with shipped eggs.

    In fact, I have a peachick right now about 1/2 zipped as I type this!! [​IMG]

    You won't get a steady 99.5 with the water heater thermostat. About the best I can get is a 2 degree swing - from 98.5 to 100.5 (using water wriggler).

    One thing I can say is that' once you get it set, it tends to be pretty rock steady - at least in my coolers which are 34 qt rubbermaid type coolers.

    I am not saying the water heater therms are very precides, but frankly, I don't trust the wafers either - too many horror stories on here of people with crazy temp swings or having one get stuck and frying the eggs.

    If I was going to invest more $$ into a better thermostat, I'd go with the ones you use with reptile habitats - they run about $30-40.
  6. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    Sweet!!!! I built mine too and tonight they have started to pip! Good luck with your homemade bator... may you have many happy hatches!!!! [​IMG]
  7. equus2

    equus2 Songster

    Yes, this is egg-zactly what Miss Priss built!! [​IMG] But, mine is lime-green! The styro container I used is not square (the sides are wavy, to accomodate bait containers), so some things were a bit of a challenge (like shaping the wire floor). But, there are built in cups and pedestals that the floor sits on, which is nice. Cleaning the unit will also be a challenge, that's why I think I'll hatch in cartons.

    I'm so excited, and it really is so easy. I ordered a wafer thermostat, but it didn't arrive, and I really was itching to see this thing work!! (I won't declare this a success until I have a successful hatch!!) And I admit, I don't really get how those wafers work!! And, I'd rather use an element, that a light bulb as a heat source. Maybe later! [​IMG]

    On the temp fluctuations......I think we can get just a bit overworked and stress out when the temp is a degree or so off...... [​IMG] .....maybe I've been lulled into a false sense of security, but my last few hatches in styro bators (shipped eggs from various sources) were 11 out of 16, 9 out of 12 and most recently, 12 out of 14. I'm in Utah, with a VERY dry and strangely radical climate this year so I normally have temp swings from 95 to 102. (It snowed on the valley floor last weekend, was 94 today!) Humidity is always a challenge. I have spurts of slow hatches, which require closer monitoring, but have had no death loss during hatching this year (except for the poor babe that got underneath the screen.) [​IMG]

    This was sooooo much fun. But the true test is yet to come.....[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I don't have the weasel in, yet, but I'll run a flukers and hygrometer with weasel at the same time, for comparison sake and post results here.

    I have had much better luck this year....calibrating the hygrometers each hatch, setting everything up in a basement room, and having a humidifier going on high round the clock, have been key. [​IMG]

    Rock on!![​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  8. catfish

    catfish Songster

    Apr 13, 2008
    Greenbrier, Arkansas
    equus2 good l uck with your hatch, glad you had good service with geeks.com [​IMG]
  9. MaryT

    MaryT Songster

    May 5, 2008
    good luck with the hatch......
    The more I read the more I think I could do that!!
    Oh boy is Hubby gonna be suprized.......LOL
  10. equus2

    equus2 Songster

    Oh, hi, catfish!! Yes, thanks for the referral. Geeks.com was great!! Fan was about $2. Same fan was $18 at best buy!

    Update on homemade bator. The air temp was 99.4 when I left at 6:30 this am. Returned home just now, exactly 12 hr later, and its 99.6! Don't know the range of temps while I was gone, but I was sure impressed with that. Humidity is holding steady.

    I mounted the fan directly above a ramekin of water. Still need to test with the weasel, though.

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