homemade incubators

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by DanaC, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. DanaC

    DanaC New Egg

    Nov 15, 2010
    Hi, Im Dana. I just found this site a little while ago. I have been reading on how to hatch eggs. Then I went and looked at the homemade incubators. There are several different ones. I wanted to know what worked best. I guess, Im asking if anyone has built any of those and how well did it work. Thanks. I am just doing as much research as I can before we even try to do this.
  2. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    Build several. They all worked great. Also seen hundreds of other people over they years on here do the same.

    What works best is debatable because you can hatch eggs in a crock pot if ya wanted to or spend thousands on electronic components. Most agree that a fan in the incubator is a big plus but every other component is hotly debated over what is best.

    For thermostats I have used house central heat thermostats, wafer thermostats, hot water thermostats an digital thermostats.

    For heat I have used car tail lights, house lights, Christmas lights, heat elements an hair dryers.

    For boxes I have used fish tanks, fridges, coolers an foam shipping boxes.

    All work well.
  3. DanaC

    DanaC New Egg

    Nov 15, 2010
  4. kelseygirl707

    kelseygirl707 Dances with Chickens

    Mar 3, 2009
    Lakeport, Ca.
    I have built several an new one just this weekend, but all the supplies can add up. I prefer Digital thermostats which are $30 on ebay, new Styrofoam cooler was $15, Light socket $4, Duct tape $4, Electrical tape $3, Glass $2, Computer fan $5, Wiring $5, and if you want to build a turner, that costs too. But I prefer home made, because I feel accomplished when those babies hatch, plus I like to tinker. And if it breaks, I know how to fix it.
  5. The Fairy Godmartyr

    The Fairy Godmartyr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 7, 2010
    I have a friend who put a couple of eggs in a cardboard box with a cheap thermometer and a couple of light bulbs, then used a blanket over top to adjust the heat when needed. And she managed to hatch a chick that way. [​IMG]
  6. growinupinfl

    growinupinfl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    I can tell you what we did, I don't know if it is the best but it is what seemed to work for us.

    I am in the middle of my first hatch ever with my first incubator ever and we made a homemade cooler style. It underwent MANY evolutions to finally get it right. I started off with the directions from the gator bator directions. But I didn't like the tipping tray in our cooler it seemed to heat way to unevenly with the eggs. I removed that and set the eggs on the grate directly, the 4 sponges put our humidity way to high, so we removed the tray completely, and put just a small bowl of water . Then the eggs started getting dinged up on the grate so we put pine chips in there.. that pine chips started burying the eggs blocking air flow and humidity. Then we removed the pine chips and put them on cut up paper coffee filters, well that also was blocking air flow. They ended up on the grate anyways.

    As for the light issue.. HAHAHA I thought my husband was gonna kill me by the time I worked this out. I started off with canabalizing my daughters old light bright. Well that was a 4 watt night light bulb. I needed a few more degrees. Went to a 10 watt still not enough, 15 watt almost their, they do not make 20 watt bulbs, 40 watt put us up to 107 degrees:eek: . Couldn't find a thermostat, went to the pet store and found a dial low med high dial power dimmer like thingy. Tried that.. Oh no that didn't work I think the temp went down to like 80, then up to 110 .[​IMG] I just knew they were all dead and failure was eminent.

    Finally talked hubby into putting in a thermostat. By this time I had like 4 different thermometers in there and the temp was so uneven it was crazy. Went back to the pet store and their was this red light , and it actually had this many inches from surface for the different watts creates this much surface heat. What did I do, I bought it.. My husband was starting to look at buying me an incubator that was high quality, he said it would be cheaper than me continuing "to save money" by building my own. Talked him into letting me try one more time, and promised I would return all the other stuff. As he dropped his shoulders and agreed. We installed the thermostat and the heat light. It was on the side, then I put a hole through the plexi glass on the top so it could heat more evenly, then I used foil to try and make it not radiate way to hot onto the eggs. In the end I went back to the original light hole on the side. I messed with the thermostat and finally got it stabilized. I moved the thermostat all around the incubator until I found a happy place for it and the light, and the eggs. At first I thought it was some sort of evil joke the thermometers were playing on me by all finally agreeing. Now it maintains within 1 degree at all times, with having the more powerful heat lamp the light radiates evenly and the temp maintains well with the light only kicking on briefly now and then. It is on less than 20 seconds every 2-3 minutes, instead of a light on almost constantly.

    Day 17 could not imagine how I was going to get the humidity up high enough to hatch without the pan with sponges. Ended up taking all the eggs everything out and putting the tray back. Candled the eggs and amazingly enough they were still moving in there, so we moved forward.

    Well as we were preparing for lockdown another moment of wisdom came to bite me in the butt. I had decided to add a few more eggs three days after the others, now I had to figure out how to turn the eggs and not open the stupid incubator. Remember the hole in the plexi-glass for the light I thought needed to be there! AHHH HAAA I took a good ol' fashion stick put a little electrical tape on the end so I could push those last few eggs around as needed. As I'm doing this I burned the MESS out of my arm on the heat lamp, crap how do I make sure chicks don't hit that lamp, or go lay on the thermostat and insulate it and burn themselves up? I still have wire left from making the grate. I took it and cut off enough to make a little fence around both for the chicks safety.

    The hole on the top has proved the most useful screw-up of all. With having a staggered hatch we were able to pull the 10 chicks out that had already hatched when the other ones were still in lock down without dropping the humidity. We were also able to reach in and pull out one hysterically funny little chick who's struggle out of the egg was significantly stuck. The chick pipped out of the small end of the egg, we left him alone for over 30hrs, this morning when we woke up he was literally rolling his egg back and forth and screaming at the top of his lungs. He was rolling over hatched chick's toes, knocking them down and screaming the whole time. Because we had the hole in top we were able to reach in and pull the stuck chick out, when we did you could see his beak and one eye as he was screaming for help. The egg was almost jumping in our hands. We gently pulled the shell back. Once that was all clear we started to very carefully pull the membrane back, their was no blood or anything. Soon as he was free enough he started thrashing around similar to a person who just walked through a spiderweb at night. We finally got the squalling baby back into the nice warm incubator. Still wet stood up stomped a few steps, and then fell down stretched out his legs like thank you I"M FREE.. I was laughing so hard. That little chick is also 8 grams heavier than any of the others.

    After the babies hatched the humidity shot way up like over 90% we were just able to take more duck-tape off the hole on the top.

    That is my experience in making the incubator, if I did it again, I would set it up and play with until it maintained the temp I wanted for 48 hrs. I am very glad to have put the hole in the plexi-glass. I will be putting rubber flaps up before the next hatch and cut the edges a bit smoother, kinda scraped our arms when we had to reach in there.

    I would defiantly recommend the hole on the top it allowed me to turn eggs even in lock down, save an onry screaming chick. It also allowed me to remove chicks who were a day old and more eggs were still hatching. I also droped a stethoscope down there to hear when they started peeping before they hatched.

    I'm attaching some pictures.. I hope our struggles end up helping you. After I returned all the "oops" it actually was cheaper. I spent 7 on the heat light, 7 on the thermostat and everything else we had around the house.

    Have fun with it, it really is fun and a worth while learning experience.

    Here is my pics

    Let us know how it goes,


    Light and thermostat location


    If you look up at the egg up toward the top of the picture you will see the one who was hatching wrong, first to pip last to be hatched out of the first batch, 11 of the 12 hatched.

    First hatch in incubator

    The first hatch in the brooder


    The second ones pipping, was able to get the first to the brooder and never lost humidity for these guys


    And several of these are already happily pipping, lets hope no more backward hatching..

    Happy hatching:jumpy
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010

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