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incubator ideas! post your ideas for home made incubators, whether they work or not~

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by kellyn, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. kellyn

    kellyn Songster

    Nov 17, 2011
    bunnell, Florida
    I'm not sure if anyone's done a forum about building incubators or not, but I'm posting one anyways. :)

    I noticed on the Incubating and Hatching Eggs forum that several threads were about Homemade incubators and issues people were having. So here's what I thought of: why not start a forum on home made incubators, for what we do right and what we do wrong. Some of us(like myself) know very little when it comes to building a good incubator cheaply and efficiently.

    But here's what I think I know~

    When building an incbator, our standards must meet several requirements; price of materials, max holding capacity, and hatch rate are what I think are the most important.

    For the holding egg capacity, I prefer to set over 30 - 50 per hatch. And I almost always add eggs every week until it's full. Bad habit, but if you can move the eldest eggs into a hatcher for lockdown, you're perfectly fine. Right now I thing the more the better. My opinion will likely change later on. My hatch rates are always below 50%, because I never follow my own advice and the advice of others.

    Price is my issue; I'm not about to buy a $700 incubator I'll use twice a year that'lltake me a month to fill up. And I don't have 700 bucks. I love GQF styrafoam incubators, but they don't last forever. An it's easy to damage the styrafoam(for me, anyways).

    So, why not build your own? I'm sure plenty of us have an old computer or an old incubator they can get a hold of. Or a ceramic light fixture, they work surprisingly well if you position the light in the correct spot. If you have the ingredients(lol), (heat source, fan, and container) you can make an incubator!

    If you want a 80-100% hatch rate, you'll definately have to do some research and buy a good thermostat that you can wire to your heat source. I'm going to figure out how to do that(eventually).

    Here's my most recent creation! Made with an old model GQF turbo an incubator and a dresser. Almost as easy as it can get! The only tools you need are screws, a drill, and some different drill bits. And styrafoam tape~! It's simple. You can likely do it without reading anything.


    Please correct me if I'm wrong in any of this information so I can correct it. I'd feel horrible for giving out false information. Am I confusing anyone?

    Edit: June 1st, 2012.

    The owner of this website posted below was kind eough to make an actual page on his website for this. It's my new-and-improved styrafoam medicine chest incubator. The only thing I bought was the 27 dollar thermostat.


    It's currently up and running and I now have quail eggs in it due to hatch by Monday, and some before. It's the one with the duck eggs in it, which might I add have been 'cooking' for only two days and 16/21 are showing fertility! Four of the five are too small(from a younger duck I got in january). And I guess the last is a dud. Maybe I should show candling pictures later on...
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012

  2. kellyn

    kellyn Songster

    Nov 17, 2011
    bunnell, Florida
    Something I forgot to mention: I kinda sorta hope people who are stumped and just chucked their HM incubator into the shed or closet because it wouldn't work will post pictures of their 'failure' incubators on here or another thread and maybe someone who knows a lot will look at it and figure out what could be their problem. It happends. My first HM was used as a table until last november when I decided id give it another shot. Turns out, it was my fault it wouldn't work right. Biiig surprise there. (Sarcasm)

    You'd be surprised at something you think is so complex, turns out to be one of the easiest things to fix.
  3. mpcardona

    mpcardona In the Brooder

    Sep 30, 2011
    Mineola, Texas
    Kellyn, I totally love that you started this post. I am actually new to incubation and was thinking about starting it up soon. Have been doing my research and just want to get it right the first time.
    1 person likes this.
  4. shanachie05

    shanachie05 In the Brooder

    Aug 11, 2011
    Northshore of Boston
    Ooh, yes, i agree. I hope people do post all types of incubators! I was going to try and purchase one, but my husband just said he would like to try and build one! I'm surprised and pleased. I think he likes the chickens, but i know he really loves building stuff. And he's very god at doing that. After all, he built a lovely 8x12 coop and runout pen for the chickens!
  5. kellyn

    kellyn Songster

    Nov 17, 2011
    bunnell, Florida
    Thanks, and I'm pretty new compared to most people to building and hatching as well. I love looking at people's Home Made Incubators and thought maybe I could see a few awesome designs that other BYCers made that weren't on the HM incubators page. I've read just about all of them word-from-word.

    Mpcardona: you're a smart one; it'll always save you money if you research what you need so you don't destroy materials or get the wrong kind. Haha, I kinda sorta don't research anything. If I'm having a 'smart day', as I call em, I do a scale drawing of what I want. I did it once, and I didn't even use it. I had that dresser instead, and it turned out better than anythin else. Heck, it's even pretty!

    Shanachie05: i'd love to see what y'all build for an incubator. Just beware if you paint it. It'll look better natural; I painted mine blue and it's soooooo ugly! Maybe I should spray-paint it black...

    So if you have between 15 and 25 chickens, at minimum collect 12 eggs a day(pick only the best shaped and cleanest), collect them for six days straight and that's 72 eggs. Quite a bit! Eggs shouldn't be out for more than 10 days, and even then your hatch rate is going to be reduced quite a bit. I try not to wait more than 7. And don't put eggs into the fridge either! Fridgerators are rather frigid and kill off the dormant embryo. If the eggs are in there only 2 or 3 hours, I think they'd be alright; people collect eggs from coops in -10 degree weather, after all. But they aren't laid but perhapse a couple hours tops before being collected. I think perfect storing temperature is 65-75* fahrenheit. You may just want to research that yourselves because I haven't looked into that information too much. And I am not sure if you need a storing humidity either. I don't think it's necessary.

    There's a bit of info in here, you probably have to look or it.
  6. Lute

    Lute Songster

    Feb 25, 2012
    Albuquerque, NM
    Well, I haven't built mine yet but this is the one that I'm going to build as soon as I can get to walmart and see if the digital thermometer and humidity reader can be found. I actually have everything else already.


    I'll be posting pictures as I build it. Maybe friday? I don't have any eggs yet, sadly, but that should change in the coming months. [​IMG]
  7. kellyn

    kellyn Songster

    Nov 17, 2011
    bunnell, Florida
    Thanks for the link Lute, I think I actually saw it a few years ago before my dad had built my incubator.

    I think that the person could improve their incubator by putting in a fan(and like quintip just mentioned) a thermostat. Though I don't know where to put it in this design.

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    The inner lay of the cooler and window on top is perfect. I just think it's easier to buy a heat lamp(like the ones in brooders, just cheaper) at walmart or Home Depot or Lowes or something instead of taking apart a lamp. I really didn't get how the creator of that incubator attatched the light. Was the actual lamp sticking out the side? I'm not flaming the person, I'm just giving constructive tips :)

    And I think an old pc fan can easily be wired in to blow heated air diagonally across, following the wire, to the eggs to help the temps stay the same throughout the incubator. He could also ad a 'water wriggler', or a bag of warm water, underneath the light to help maintain temperatures.

    This incubator should cost less than $30. And you can go cheaper with the light if you buy a cheap porcelain light fixture fo 2 or 3 dollars and use an old plug to something(cell phone chargers are the best because they're thick and have good quality copper wire inside. I use ones I've broken.) And wire it together. Be careful how you wire it. It's a definate fire hazard if you do it wrong. And try not to blow your fan up, like I did. Use a converter.

    My second incubator is a lot like this one, except it's much deeper. Lute, did you look at the incubator a viewer made? If not, here it is:


    Mine is almost exactly the same, but smaller. And mine has a larger window. Ok, my post is getting scarily long. If I missed something(again) I'll add it later. If you're confulsed by my odd little punctuation drawing just ask what's what.

    4th edit it's getting kinda old... -_-'
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012

  8. quintinp

    quintinp Songster

    Oct 22, 2010
    Southern Oklahoma
    I have seen countless times where people make an incubator, but they put the thermostat in the location of the eggs.
    Well, the thermostat needs to be close to the heat source.

    That is one of the most noticed problems I see when reading about a thread where a person has made an unsuccessful incubator.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  9. BoutrosBoutrosGalusGalus

    BoutrosBoutrosGalusGalus Chirping

    Jul 18, 2011
    san jose
    I used an aquarium heater with a max temp of 94 thinking that the the air temp would be higher. Well, humidity hit 100 and the temp even more, but I think the thermo/hygrometer broke.
  10. cva34

    cva34 Songster

    Aug 10, 2011
    Van Vleck ,TX
    Thermostat is Heart of Inc. Wafer thermostat are proven .Incubator Warehouse makes a digital unit that's been good to me.about $50. Ranco 111000 makes a tough unit and controls well but no decimal places Whole # only about $50. on ebay been good to me too.Useing water heater thermostat s are kind of like shaveing with an AXE. My tip for today...cva34

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