My new incubator


Nov 28, 2015
Hi all,

I wanted to show my new incubator and give others potential ideas?

I scored yesterday, when I found a bale of hay, corn stalks with corn (from Halloween decorations I assume), and a large/thick Styrofoam container, in the alley!

I made the container into my new incubator:
This container is about 2 inches thick!
I drilled holes in a 1 inch "pvc" pipe and used metal rods to hold a 30 egg container, which I got on top of the dumpster outside of a pancake house. The container is glued to the pvc with very strong adhesive! The pipe rests on the holes on both sides of the container. I used another rod as a stopper. It is bent and is stopped by the sides of the incubator, so that the eggs will never turn upside down (or too far).
I bought a 4 inch vent fan from home depot for $15. It is in the bottom and circulates the air.
I covered the light with another piece of duct to try and prevent excess heat around the bulb.
I have two open holes in the container, one behind the fan to draw in fresh air, and one near the top to release air -- the temp was getting a little too warm.
Everything seems to be working! The temperature is uniformly correct.
The inner temp will vary if the outside temp varies but I'm not sure what the conversion will be? Five degrees on outside drops inner temp by 1 degree? If current room temp is 71 degrees and inner temp is 100 degrees what would that work out to be?
Anyway, I don't think it will be a problem, since room temp should remain consistent.The pvc extends to the outside, and is turned to rotate the eggs. They turn farther than pictured. I cut a opening in the top and have a plastic cover for viewing, so I hope to not have to open, unless I want to check development every so often?

FYI, I'm only using a 5 watt bulb.

Does it have a thermostat? Let us know how it works.
Looks like a good start. A few concerns, though...

The vent fan will get hot over time. This may overheat eggs placed above the fan.

The fan will be a real danger to chicks when they hatch. At hatch time, will you be removing the fan? With the design of the egg tray/turner, you won't be able to remove that for hatching, or to easily replace it when it gets dirty. Next revision you may want to glue a sheet of plywood to the turner rod, and then just fasten the egg flat on top of the platform.

What will you be using to raise humidity for hatching? How will you keep the sponges etc moist during hatch without opening the lid?

A thermostat is important to accomodate changing temperatures around the incubator. You can buy a plug-in dimmer and use that to adjust the light output. And you'll need a thermometer, and to check it frequently to make the adjustments. An upgrade would be to buy a thermostat with a remote probe, like a reptile thermometer.

I love DIY projects and seeing a good hatch come out of them.
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No thermostat, but what is really cool is that Home depot had a little piece of equipment that you can plug the vent fan into that will regulate the fan. It is meant to increase heat in a house if the temp drops, but could also work to cool if temp increases? ...I'm not sure? I just have a thermometer and container of water in the bottom. I read a lot about humidity, but humidity needed will change drastically with temp, whether temp is 103 or 99 has a big impact. I think that circulating fresh air will help a lot.
I also read that so many people don't focus on humidity (at least until the very end), and are very successful.
I will remove eggs from this incubator and put then in another several days prior to hatch...

Hi Walnut hill,

I base a lot of what I'm doing on the fact that I had many successful hatches from a little Styrofoam incubator with no frills, that I bought as a youngster!

Maybe the temp is staying constant at 100%, using a 5 watt bulb, because of the additional heat produced by the fan. I hadn't thought of that?

I positioned the egg tray over the center, so that it wont hit the light or fan housing. It's a fairly large container.

I will remove the eggs and put them in another incubator when/if the time comes.


The fan doesn't really need the regulator, since you are just pushing the same air around in the incubator. It's a closed system, so adjusting fan speed won't make the incubator warmer. In fact, it probably turns off the fan if the incubator gets too cool, which isn't what you want either. I use one of those in my sunroom so the fans quit pushing cold air into the bedrooms if the wood runs down in the woodstove.

Too much humidity during incubation is as bad as too little at hatch. If you are hatching in another box, then you can adjust things there. I'd use a much, much smaller fan in a hatcher, just enough to move the air, like a video card or CPU fan rather than a computer case fan. Your local computer repair shop may be willing to give you scrap fans.

I didn't see mention of ventilation holes. You will need to ensure there are at least two 1/2 holes, maybe three, in an incubator that size. Placement is important, don't put directly in the air stream, place where the air circulates across the opening rather than into or out of it.
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Thanks walnut hill!

...i have two ventilation holes, i believe i mentioned. It will draw air in from outside, up, and out near the top. I checked all around with my thermomer and got no variation. Of course, i did not put thermometer directly on a heat source.

On a different note, i just got back home and found an egg from one of my hens, i have three, on the ground. Then i found two eggs in the box. She was "odd man out" and must have been ticked. Hopefully, that doesnt happen two often. I think one hen lays about every 22 hrs, one every 30, and one every 36 (although shes improving rapidly), so all three laying at once shouldnt happen too ofter?


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