My adventures in 1st time hatching


12 Years
Nov 1, 2010
Northern L.P. Michigan
When I joined BYC I couldn't believe people made their own incubators. After reading for a while I decided I wanted to try it myself. I built one out of a foam cooler for under $15. Then we collected eggs from our own chicken - a trick to catch the eggs warm in Michigan in February. I read horrible stories about no one hatching so I prepared myself for the worst. I set 10 eggs. Two from each of my currently laying hens. 1 Cornish, 1 Production Red, 1 EE and 2 Polish. We candled at 7 days and 1 Polish was not fertile. We candled at 13 days and could tell most were moving, couldn't see in two eggs and one Polish we couldn't determine. My humidity stayed 35-45% and I gave up looking at the temp because neither thermometer would ever agree. For lockdown we got the humidity up to 58%. I ended up with 7 hatching. The last one we assisted after he pipped he ended up saran wrapped? so we opened the egg for him. He was peeping but very tired, although seems fine today. We are going to check out the two eggs that didn't hatch. They are the two I thought would be iffy from the beginning. One was the Polish we couldn't tell on day 13 and the other got dripped on several times from a leaky hose in the incubator.

What I thought was great was no one in the family was into it at the beginning. By the end you could say "Pip" and everyone would rush to the incubator. They are also all named. I don't like to name chicks until they are bigger but my Husband started on the first one.

Left to right: Silver (Polish mom), Chippy (EE), Carmel (Production Red), Uno (Cornish), Smoke (Cornish), Frost (Polish), Puff (EE) Possible Papa's are Polish and EE

This was a practice run to buy some eggs - hopefully it goes as well.
Congratulations ! So exciting. So cute!
What all did you do to your cooler, and what did you use. Do you have any pictures?

Here is the very ugly incubator. It was a foam cooler that I built a wooden top that fit snug on it. The fan is mounted on the inside of the lid, along with a basic light fixture. I used a water heater thermostat that is just stuck into the foam. I also pinned sponges to the sides with a system of hoses that irrigated them. There is also a pan with a sponge under the light. There is a pan under the entire bottom and screen to keep the chicks from getting near the fan or light.


Yup - worked better than I thought it would. I'd rather have one that works that's ugly than a beautiful, expensive one with no chicks! When it comes to last minute adjustments duct tape works wonders!!

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