Incubator or desk lamp?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Fox, Jan 24, 2009.

  1. Fox

    Fox Chillin' With My Peeps

    309
    2
    131
    Nov 4, 2008
    South Carolina
    Hi,

    I have been debating whether to use an incubator or my desk lamp set up again. The last time I hatched eggs was the first time I've done it. I had 5 fertile eggs all of which made it to the pipping stage, and then only one died in the shell. The rest hatched out on their own just fine. I admit to having trouble with the humidity and temp levels at times and was stressed out a bit over it! [​IMG] But they made it and they are healthy and grown now. I figured since they were Silkies the next time, my hens could do it for me! Well, we would like to get some Ameraucana eggs and I think she could only safely sit on about 4 or 5 of those, so since we were getting a dozen, I'd still have more that needed to be incubated. My concern is that I read about the same troubles I had with temps and humidity levels with my desk lamp, with the incubators, but my hatch rate, if only counting fertile eggs, was 4 out of 5 eggs. I am not sure I can beat that with an incubator. So I am just curious if you think incubators are really a better way to go or do you just go with what worked before? Will it work as well with Ameraucana eggs as it did with Silkie eggs? I just thought I would get some advice from you all to help me make a decision.

    Thanks!
     
  2. cw

    cw Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2009
    green co.
    you hatched eggs with a desk lamp? wow how did ya do it?
     
  3. Fox

    Fox Chillin' With My Peeps

    309
    2
    131
    Nov 4, 2008
    South Carolina
    Quote:Yes, I did! [​IMG]

    I got a deep box with a lid. I cut out another rectangle of cardboard and cut the center section out of it and taped it the one of the top lid flaps of the box. I put clear packaging tape over the cut open area so I would have a window and wouldn't have to open the box every time I wanted to check the eggs and temp. I put a thick towel on the bottom and covered that with paper towels. I put my desk lamp in the corner of the box because the box was too tall for it to stay outside of it. Ideally, I would prefer either a bigger box or a lower one so that the lamp could stay out and just be bent over into the box. I used a long, rectangular container for a water tray and also put in a glass of water in the corner for my humidity. I used a temp/humidity gauge from Wal-mart to monitor how things went. I put my eggs in the center, I had 8 to start out with and ended up with 5 fertile. I centered the lamp over the eggs. If it seemed a bit too warm, I raised the lamp up. Not warm enough, I lowered the lamp down. I turned the eggs three times a day. I wrote down my temp at the time of turning and the time.

    It was hard to raise the humidity levels at the end, but I used sponges to create more water surface and it did rise. I had a power outage during the hatch. I had to move the box to the garage to plug up to a temporary power source. I lost a lot of humidity. When the power came back on and I could see, I took a humidifier and flooded the box with the humid air, then shut it up lowered the lamp to raise the temps that had also dropped. I removed the two chicks that had already hatched into another box with another lamp, so they were not effected by any of that. The other two hatched out fine, one right away, the other within the hour. Only one died, but it never made it out of the shell. It had stopped peeping even before the power outage. And that is pretty much how I did it. I will say that at one point, I did start having to get up in the middle of the night because the temp would get to high, but it was toward the end and it was in the summer. I think some of my swinging temps had more to do with the air-conditioner kicking on and off than anything else. I think I'd want a new place for the box as I didn't like the last space for that very reason. Sometimes I covered the top of the box with a towel.

    Here is a picture of my incubator box
    [​IMG]

    Here is a better picture of the lid
    [​IMG]

    Here they are during the hatch
    [​IMG]

    And here is one of those two a few months ago.She was the first hatched and is on the left in the picture.
    [​IMG]

    Edited to add more pictures
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2009
  4. cw

    cw Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2009
    green co.
    wow! Great job! i bet that was frustrting>

    have you got our bought an incubator? i belive i would let the hen do it.
     
  5. Fox

    Fox Chillin' With My Peeps

    309
    2
    131
    Nov 4, 2008
    South Carolina
    No, I haven't bought an incubator yet. I do have a hen sitting on some eggs, but we want to hatch a dozen of the Ameraucana eggs and I'd like to hatch some more Silkies, but they can only sit on 4-5 large eggs or 6-8 of their own, so I would need to use something to hatch the remaining eggs that is what I am debating... what to use on the eggs she can't fit under her! [​IMG]
     
  6. cw

    cw Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2009
    green co.
    please do the desk lamp thing again! this time take plenty of picsa mail them to me. there is people who can hatch eggs in an incubator, and you ( mr. mcgiver) con do it with a box and a bulb please post every detail thank you
     
  7. Puff of Fluff

    Puff of Fluff Chillin' With My Peeps

    WoW! [​IMG] I [​IMG] to that hatch % in that manor. Have you considered building your own incubator using the more typical methods? There are a lot of real good designs on BYC and they might be just a smidgen safer then cardboard and heat. And from what I have been reading, easier to maintain temp and humidity in. They are probably less expensive too. I stumbled on a post yesterday that showed a homemade bator and also had the links to others that are homemade; one by MissPrissy https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=8510&p=1 another by SpeclkedHen I can't find at the moment, and I believe there were a few others there. Here is an area in the learning center and scroll almost to bottom and there is a list of sites on homemade bators (I just found this one [​IMG]). https://www.backyardchickens.com/LC-howto.html and this one from there is real reasonable http://www.afn.org/~poultry/matilda.htm

    Good luck and keep us posted on how it goes. I will [​IMG] for you and your future little [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] 's.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2009
  8. Fox

    Fox Chillin' With My Peeps

    309
    2
    131
    Nov 4, 2008
    South Carolina
    Quote:Thanks, but that would me Miss MacGyver! [​IMG]

    If I do it again, I'll try to take more pictures, although it is really simple and basic.
     
  9. Fox

    Fox Chillin' With My Peeps

    309
    2
    131
    Nov 4, 2008
    South Carolina
    Quote:Thanks for the links. I saw the bator contest and was hoping to see all the ideas there too. There is so much to read here, and I do want to read more homemade incubator ideas. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!
     
  10. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    14,107
    24
    311
    Mar 25, 2008
    Virginia
    If it worked before, chances are that it would work again. If the reason you are not wanting to do it that way again is because it was to nerve wracking, then I would suggest getting a Hova Bator 1588. They are virtually blonde proof (not that you need that!) and are very easy to operate. They come with the temperature preset. All you have to do is plug it in and add water! Very easy! I'm on my 4th hatch in mine and have never had any issues with it. BUT, if you can manage just fine with yours, do it again! My hats off to you for constructing it and making it work! I think that's absolutely fabulous!!! [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by