My $3, 30-minute Egg Incubator

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by thegrovestead, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. thegrovestead

    thegrovestead In the Brooder

    Jan 31, 2015
    I originally posted this on Instructables because they are running a contest for Budget DIY and this project certainly qualifies as BUDGET! (feel free to drop by and give it a vote -- farm projects don't even have their own category and could use more attention)

    But I also wanted to show all of you my humble attempt at hatching my first eggs. Before you laugh, keep in mind that my goal was to build the CHEAPEST and SIMPLEST egg incubator possible. I think I succeeded! The truth is, I didn't want to pay $200+ for a brand name incubator to hatch just a handful of eggs. If this experience goes well, I might scale up, but for now I'm just experimenting.


    My supply list was as follows:
    • Styrofoam box
    • Light bulb socket that plugs into standard extension cord
    • Incandescent light bulb (15 watt)
    • Scrap wood to make the frame
    • Screen
    • Thermometer with humidity gauge
    • Shallow cup for holding water (the sour cream container in your recycling bin works great)

    Caveat, I already had some supplies on hand such as lightbulbs, thermometer and scrap wood. But other than that, my total out of pocket was $3. This included the styrofoam bait box ($2) and a lightbulb socket ($0.97). I also set a goal of making it in under 30 minutes, which if you don't count the time taking photos, I easily pulled off.

    First step was to assembly the frame:

    Next, I cut out a piece of screen and wrapped the frame and stapled it in place:



    Then I cut out a hole for the lightbulb socket and installed that in one end of the box, about halfway up the side:



    I put ventilation holes in the sides and lid. This ended up helping tremendously later when fine tuning the temperature:

    Then it was final assembly, putting all the pieces in place:

    I tested the weight of the screen by putting down several eggs (though these were not the fertilized ones I ended up setting).

    At this point, I was done with the incubator. But just one last step to make it more handy. I used the glass from an ugly 5x7 frame to make a viewing window:

    I cut a hole in the lid about 1/4-inch smaller than the glass, set the glass in place, then taped down the edges. Here is what the finished project looks like:


    I put a thermometer in and started fine-tuning the temperature. I found that you can do a fair amount of adjustment just by opening and closing air vents in the lid. A lamp dimmer switch is also a cheap option (about $5). But the fool-proof way (so I have heard) is a water heater thermostat wired into the electrical cord. That might be my next upgrade.

    All in all it was a good project. Inexpensive and a quick build. I set 4 eggs incubating on the 8th, 2 of which were viable 8 days later. So it does work on fertile eggs!

    Looking forward to learning lots more in the upcoming weeks.

    1 person likes this.

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