Homemade Incubator?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by CSWolffe, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. CSWolffe

    CSWolffe Songster

    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City
    Has anyone had good experience with homemade incubators?
    I am talking about old coolers with water pans and wire racks and light bulbs for heat and an accurate thermometer.
    I have chicken fever. My small flock of three girls is not enough. I have six chicks(EEs and Wellsumers) being shipped at the end of April, but that is not soon enough. I only plan on keeping one each of the six, the others will either be sold to pay for the exhorbitant shipping costs, or will be donated to my friend's egg co-op. I would also like a Marans, but could not get them from the hatchery.
    I was thinking of ordering a half dozen Black Copper Marans eggs to incubate and hatch. I think that would be a good experience for my daughters, and frankly, it gives me a new project to keep my occupied. Again, I would only keep one of the Marans, either selling or donating the rest.
    But I am on a budget, having already spent all my tax refund money, most of which went to take down an enormous dead tree perilously close to power lines. I can't afford to buy an incubator at the moment.
    I know I could easily put together a decent homemade incubator from parts I already have laying around. But this is not a project I would undertake lightly, not with living things. If I can't do it right, then I wont do it at all.
    I used to keep reptiles, so monitoring humidity and temperature are pretty easy for me.
    Do any of you have any thoughts? Are homemade incubators reliable? Is the success rate any different than with other incubators?
    Thank you in advance all of you for your advice.

  2. cva34

    cva34 Songster

    Aug 10, 2011
    Van Vleck ,TX
    Made several over years.Latest and greatest is made from Magic Chef ref. approx 21 D X 19 W X 33 H . It will hold 3 LG or Hovebator turners if need be.Its really well Insulated ,cut hole in Door and put glass window.Its in unheated garage and its run in Ambient temp between 42 -80 keeps up fine.I have more problem at high end of ambient temp than at low.This time of year I run 2- 40w when it gets into spring -summer I got to drop down to maybe 2-15W. Its got 2 small fans /2 light sockets/3 turners and Incubator Warehouse Digital Thermostat which is the Heart .It controls like a dream.+ or - .5 deg F.Once you get the heat source (2 light bulbs ) talked about above in the right watt range.I have used RANCO 111000 thermostat it works great too but its + or - 1 degF and it has no decimal places.
    Without the turners I have less than 75 bucks in it Hatch rates been 50 to 80 %
    Humidity is only problem around here so I chase my tail a lot..But that with any Inc in my area cause the humidity is 90rh today and tomorrow its 15rh...then 50rh. get my drift... cva34
  3. Jessshan8

    Jessshan8 Songster

    Feb 13, 2012
    Kalispell, Mt
  4. keds45

    keds45 In the Brooder

    Feb 27, 2011
    My son (with dads help) just built an incubator with stuff around the house. (an old cooler, light fixture, bowl for h2o) I only bought a 25watt red light bulb and a digital hygrometer. Total cost around $15. the humidity is hovering around 47% and the temp is staying at 100-102 f. He put in 7 white leghorn eggs today---we'll see how it goes! We love low-tech!

  5. justafeedboy

    justafeedboy In the Brooder

    Oct 8, 2011
    in my own little world
    I built a cooler incubator and hatched my fist set of chick they hatched on valentines day. After going though the experience I would build another and have one as a hatcher. It worked very well for me. I used the dry incubation method and did have to add water to the pan to keep the humidity at 30-40 % for the first day. It was a great experience for my whole family.
  6. Wyogirl

    Wyogirl Songster

    Apr 5, 2010
    Cody, WY
    Agree with above. I built my own and hatched out chicks, my only problem was I started with shipped eggs so my % was not great. I live in WY and it took forever to get my eggs. I am currently hatching my own eggs and my % has been 90-95% hatch rate.
    Good luck
  7. CSWolffe

    CSWolffe Songster

    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City
    Thank you all. I also found some great advice in the Learning Center. I am pretty confident I could build an incubator to hatch those special Marans and Olive Egger eggs I am drooling over.
    Sadly, my ever loving and usually indulgent wife has put her foot down. Six chicks shipping at the end of April will have to be enough for me, she says. Especially considering I am only planning on keeping two of those six. I just don't have the room for a half dozen each BCMs and OEs(about half of whom will likely be roos) AND a half dozen EEs and Wellsummers.
    Next year.
    Definitely next year. This will give me something to look forward to all next winter.

  8. Jessshan8

    Jessshan8 Songster

    Feb 13, 2012
    Kalispell, Mt
    gives you lots of time to plan and build your own incubator could be a really nice one, no hurries, no worries.
  9. Cpntherfan

    Cpntherfan Songster

    Apr 1, 2011
    Lancaster S.C
    i just built my own and will have eggs in it today

  10. Arielle

    Arielle Crowing

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    I suggest you start with eggs easy to hatch for the first time. Like regular brown or white eggs. GL and have fun building. Tweaking the new incubator is part of the challenge.

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