I just made my first Homemade Incubator. Check Her Out!


9 Years
Mar 23, 2010
Chehalis, WA

YAY! Here she is!

I need some ideas on making an auto-turner or at least a manual way to turn all eggs at once. I don't have a turner or plastic tray that will fit so I am brainstorming on that.

The bator is running and currently up to 94F so I am fine tuning the thermostat now. I have a 25Watt bulb now but will increase to 40 if I have to.

Here is the outside view. The cooler was one we got from a gifted shipment from Omaha Steaks 2 years ago. I finally found a use for the cooler! Didn't want to throw this massive chunk of styrofoam in the landfill.
I duct taped 2 plexiglass windows. The side window is not as clear as I liked. I accidently purchased an anti-glare plexiglass. Oh well, it will do! The top is crystal clear, like glass but its plexiglass and more durable.

Looking down into the top window you can see I have room for more than 18 eggs. That is a baking tray and baking sheet on the bottom to hold water. I have some drawer liners I will put in for the hatch for a smoother surface for them.

And this is Matilda. This hen shaped wire basket has a thermostat mounted to her tail feathers, a light heat source in her head and a fan mounted to the bottom.
I got her at Good Will. I was looking for "something" to put the stuff in and it was like she was there just for me.
I named her after the "build matilda" instructions I found the link to somewhere on this forum. I used those wiring instructions to wire the lamp to the thermostat so I named the hen matilda.

Here is my cost breakdown:

Styro-cooler: 0.00 (re-purposed)
duct tape: 3.99 at discount store
Corks for vent holes: 0.00 (re-used some corks I had already)
Plexiglass windows: $5.50 for both (3.50 & 2.00) at Home Depot
Matilda: $2.15 at Goodwill
thermostat: $15.48 (you can spend money for a better one. I choose to start with the cheapie)
Lamp Kit: 0.00 (I inherited this lamp that I hated so I gutted the electrical components. I like the lamp a lot better now

Computer fan: $17.99 at Radio Shack
Used copper wire to mount stuff on Matilda: 0.00 (pulled from an old burnt out motor)
cookie sheet and tray 0.00, already had them laying around.
Bulbs: about $1 each

My total cost: $46.11

The best part is that I can remove Matilda and put her in a larger cooler any old time since nothing is mounted to the bator but rather to her. She serves the purpose of protecting the chicks from the electricals and heat source.
I can also change her bulb wattage for more heat if necessary.

Yay for Matilda!
I will update the thread when I set eggs and for hatch. Can't wait to get her started. She joins my 4 other incubators as the 5th and the only home-made one so far. I have 2 Brinsea and 2 little giant incubators in addition to Matilda.
i also love matilda, but have you tried it to see how good it heats up and such...?

to me, it looks like the thermostat is way too far from the light bulb... marlon has some great videos on youtube on how to make it work better... i think the thermostat should be an inch away from the bulb... drill holes in it too... and the metal part should be facing the bulb... that will get you a good steady temp... if not, get a wafer or another thermostat...

good luck...
also... (too lazy to edit my own post...)

you can make two holes on the top lid, put some yarn or thread down to the egg carton and tie it on each side... you can glue some popcicle sticks on the sides of it so it doesn't warp... then when you want to lift one side you pull the thread up, and put a hair clip or something on the thread to hold up the side of the egg carton... if you're going to do it manual, might as well do it simple and cheap... LOL... or do a whole PVC rack... but that's bulky and you have to buy PVC...
Great Threads idea! I think I will do that. It is a very thick styrofoam with a tightly sealed lid and I am still "tweeking" the thermostat. I did switch out to a 40watt bulb and its running at around 96F now. I will mess around with it as necessary.
Thanks for the tip about moving the thermostat. If I need to I will put the fan in the tail feathers and the thermostat next to the lamp. I will wait a bit and observe how it goes.

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