In a pinch, could my oven incubate?


10 Years
Jul 30, 2009
Charlotte, NC Area
I've been wondering this. I don't plan to actually do it, but my oven has a "warm" setting of 100 degrees, and it's gotten me wondering whether, in a pinch, it couldn't be used to incubate. It's a double oven, with a small oven on top and larger on bottom, so it could be used to cook in one portion and leave the other for incubating. The bottom section is convection, so it contains a circulating fan. I don't know about ventilation--I could see that being a problem. Humidity could be solved with a pan of water in the bottom.

Anyone ever done this? Are there any problems with it that I'm not seeing (other than the obvious one of the husband thinking you're insane and/or doing something awful like messing with the oven temp)? How much do temps fluctuate in a warm oven?

I think it would be useful to know in case of sudden incubator failure or a broody abandoning her nest while my bator is full, or whatever.

wew, a little weird when read it but it would made a good bator.

but, beware, if you use microwave oven then, the mikro wave produced by microwave oven could damage the eggs or kill the embryos (not being too smart, but hope you know how microwave oven work). but yes, the wave is only produced *heat*.

since microwave oven is too expensive here, i don't have it then i can't tell much heather.
Thanks, mulia! Yeah, the microwave would be a mistake! This is just a regular convection heat oven--it uses a heating element & a fan, just like an incubator, but of course it's designed to cook much hotter than an incubator. But since it has the "warm" feature, I am wondering... Maybe I'll run a test batch of unimportant eggs, just to see! My husband will think I've lost my mind!
I think an oven would work, though you'd be out the use of your oven for quite a while.

You might want to put the eggs in another container inside the oven, though ... something with a fair amount of mass, like ceramic, so that the temp stays more stable. I'd expect that the oven temp would fluctuate quite a bit, since you're mostly heating a large air space, and you're using heating coils that are intended to heat to much higher temperatures. You'd probably get cycles of cooling, followed by enough heat in a short burst to bring the temp back up, followed by more cooling ... so something to stabalize those cycles a bit would help. Ceramic container, if you have one, and a way to keep the eggs from directly contacting the container ... or another idea would be to put some bricks on the shelf below the shelf you put the eggs on. The brick thing might be better than the container idea, actually.
Most people who have actually TESTED that setting find that it's actually a good bit higher up to 110, and even if yours runs at 100 you'd have to run it cracked open for ventilation and pray no one helped you and shut it. Also a potential problem.
I know someone incubated in an oven with the pilot light on and the door cracked for ventilation. I wouldn't think the odds would be very good though. There are plenty of plans about for incubators made out of styrofoam coolers and a light bulb that would work much better and not use up your oven for however many days or weeks. Also some have incubated in various items set on the stove top and crockpots that have a very low setting. I just had to check and my crock pot doesn't go below 108-110F.
You could use a microwave but you would have to remove the magnatron and install a lightbulb for heat. I made a micro-bator and have already hatched 6 chicks in the first test hatch. So if you have an old micowave laying around just remove all the guts in it and built an incubator out of it.
Well, since I don't use my oven as often as once every 3 weeks I guess I could give it a try
Of course, then I would get a sudden urge to bake
My electronic crockpot shuts off after a certain amount of time. Do the older style ones have a warm setting?
Interesting ideas and responses. Thank you! I hadn't thought about it not actually being 100 degrees. And of course ventilation would be a problem. The cooking thing, though--that's not a problem.
Actually, I do use my oven, but it's a double oven, and I almost never use the bottom section, which is the convection portion. The top portion is slightly bigger than a toaster oven, and it's what I use almost every time. In fact, in the year we've had it, I think I've used the bottom portion exactly once.

Of course, running the top portion might affect the temp in the bottom portion.

I'm not actually planning to incubate in it. I'm mostly just curious for curiosity's sake. Yes, there's a reason for my nickname! I might just be curious enough to try it with a test batch, just to see. But I guess it would make sense to actually measure the temp first, and then see if I can somehow stabilize it as wombat suggested. No idea how I'd keep all my helpful kids & hubby from closing it and suffocating the eggs. I guess I'd just have to hope there's enough air in there to sustain them until I noticed and fixed it.

Probably an expensive way to incubate, too...

Anyway, thanks for all the feedback. It's very interesting.

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