1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    Not a member yet? join BYC here & then introduce yourself in our community forum here.

Incubator improvements

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by minna, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. minna

    minna Songster

    Oct 15, 2008
    Burnsville, MS
    Last year, I was given this incubator. It's great for being free, but there are some things I want to change. Last year I just kinda experimented and never got serious about hatching, so this year I am going to step it up a notch.
    Here is what I have

    The things I know I want to do and need advice on
    1) I want autoturners, I'm not sure how to build my own, my dh could it he had some plans or the time to make his own plans, but I am pretty sure LG turners will fit, I am going to measure to be sure, but I think they will.
    2) I use it as a hatcher and incubator so I want a special setup on the bottom for hatching, last year I put the eggs in the bottom shelf on day 18, and that was okay, but the chicks still jumped into the bottom b/c the back of the shelves doesn't go all the way to the back of the bator. So if I put them in an upper tray, it will be dangerous.
    3) I need help with water, right now all I have is that container you can see on top.
    I found this
    and was wondering if something like this would work. The one container I have is not enough, it doesn't keep the humidity up, I usually have to put extra small bowls in with it. You can see I have a small cup and bowl in the back. It's all kinda thrown together and I want to be more organized.
    4) I think the trays are too close together. At least for hatching. When I was getting close to a hatch I took out the tray above the bottom one so I didn't have to pull the tray out to see the eggs. But if I get an autoturner and a glass door or window I won't have to open the door and I want to be able to see in.
    5) My dh is going to build a glass door or put in a window, which ever he thinks will work better. I think a window.

    Any ideas would be appreciated. I want to get started soon, b/c I plan to start setting eggs the end of Feb.

    Thanks in advance
  2. HappyHatch'en

    HappyHatch'en Songster

    Jan 31, 2009
    First clean the "Dirt Dobber" off the ceiling...LOL I think you have all your questions already answered....I too would like auto turners and haven't figured out the motor/timer mechanism yet other than buying it from Dickey Incubator Co....$116.00 for the complete unit.
    Yes I think you have to many drawers, eliminate one and split the distance for the remaining others, make a wood fram with screen for the hatcher top and the chicks won't be able to jump...but if you have more room get a higher sided plastic tray...Good Luck
  3. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    The shelves are to close for foam-bator turners to fit, lose one, make it bigger an put it on the bottom as a hatcher. Ad an aquarium air pump an air rock to your water.
  4. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    Also lose the solid plywood shelves an replace them with wire mesh so the air can flow up threw the eggs
  5. minna

    minna Songster

    Oct 15, 2008
    Burnsville, MS
    kroth- yeah, definitely have to clean up the dirt dobbers, lol!
    Would it work to just take out the bottom shelf and sit is straight on the bottom?

    Rebelcowboy- look closer, the bottoms are wire.

    I hadn't thought about an air rock, my mom has a few extras I think.
    How would I need to make the shelf bigger, do you mean the sides need to be taller, why would that matter if it were on the bottom?

    I'm going out to do some measuring now, I have to do the few things I can asap, my hubby who is a total enabler just returned from a fellow chicken farmer house with 2 dozen eggs, what are these for I say. "Bobby says here's your first setting!" I wasn't ready!!!
  6. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    I meant to make it bigger to filled the whole bottom, all the way to the back, so they dont get behind it. The pic looks like theirs a solid board under each shelf and that top board that the water tray is on has to kill air flow to at least the top shelf of eggs.
  7. minna

    minna Songster

    Oct 15, 2008
    Burnsville, MS
    I see, all I would have to do is push it all the way to the back if I set it on the bottom.

    The only solid shelf is the one the water is sitting on, I can see the wire in the picture, but maybe that is b/c I know it is there. I see what you mean about the top one, but I don't really see any problem except that maybe the shelf is too high up, I may remove that one also.
    That would leave me with 3 trays and a hatcher tray.
    Looking at it again, I can't just use the bottom shelf unless I do some cutting on the bottom?
  8. dbcooper02

    dbcooper02 Songster

    Apr 20, 2007
    SW Washington
    That looks like a Dickey hatcher unit to me. As you know you can incubate in it as long as you figure out the turning thing.

    1. I think the turner question has been answered.
    2.&4. A piece of hardware cloth tacked to the end of the trays reaching nearly to the upper tray will keep the chicks where you want them. You could even cut away quite a bit of the front board and cover it with the wire to address the visibility issue.
    3.That water reserve will work fine I have one on my hatcher. It makes it so you don't have to open the door during a hatch to add water. Often when you have trouble keeping humidity in a cabinet incubator you will find that the door gasket isn't sealing. Unlike the open vents in the back, something about a leak around the door just kills the humidity. Try closing the door on a scrap of paper all the way around and see if it is sealing. You can tell by the drag on the paper as you pull it out. Or start it up and go around the edge of the door with a lit candle. Drafts coming from the door will blow the flame around.
    5. I'd probably go with a window, creating a double pane by gluing a piece of glass on each side of the plywood with silicon sealer.
  9. millebantam

    millebantam Songster

    Nov 24, 2008
    Little Rhody
    Db, all excellent points. However, I understand where you are going with the double pane window, as it helps to prevent temp loss via loss of insulated surface. But, there is a possibility that condensation can occur between the panes and stays there forever. (don't ask me how I know). I think a safer alternative would be to go with a narrow vertical type pane. It takes up less overall surface area, but gives a good view. I'm not saying that the double pane will fog up for sure, but it is highly possible unless there is absolutley perfect sealing of both panes. Double pane windows that are used in industry situations are usually charged with an inert gas to prevent condensation. Just my two pennies.
  10. minna

    minna Songster

    Oct 15, 2008
    Burnsville, MS
    Great ideas, I am going to pass them on to my husband.
    I'm not quite understand the hardware cloth idea, but maybe if I reread it a few times it will click.
    I think my husband is adamant on making a glass door, which is fine I guess, well plexi-glass at least.
    I've never looked at a Dickey we have been using the sportsman as kind of a guide.
    My husband also says he can make me the water reserve, so I will give him a week or so and then order it if he doesn't find the time.
    He is also going to make me real auto turners!! YAY!! You can buy the parts through Georgia Quail. Thanks everyone.

    ETA: After looking up the dickey site, I see what you mean about the hardware cloth!
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2009

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: