My new old incubator

WalnutHill

Crowing
5 Years
Mar 16, 2014
7,000
2,268
346
SE Michigan
I left my eggs long enough today to pick up this little gem:



It's a baby Leahy 65-4 model. It has picture windows (original) on all four sides, holds around 65 eggs, and works perfectly (but reeks of stale cigarette smoke). I removed the top with the heating elements and wiring, and scrubbed the inside out in the bath tub.

I then reassembled and have plugged it in, it is heating up!

It needs a pilot bulb and pilot cover, and of course calibration. But this is different than the big Leahys. It has one set of sliders at the bottom, and no egg tray or water pan. I will have to repurpose or fabricate those, I imagine.

Has anyone seen one of these? I intend to use it as a hatcher but I will probably move a whole tray of chicken eggs in once it's at temperature and I figure out where to put it.

This is the seller's photo...the baby Leahy is sitting on top of a big Leahy 320 egg incubator (also for sale) equipped with 2 LG auto turners on each rack.

They bought a Brinsea Ova-Easy to replace these and I watched some French Black Copper Marans popping out of beautiful dark chocolate eggs while I was there.
 

WalnutHill

Crowing
5 Years
Mar 16, 2014
7,000
2,268
346
SE Michigan
I found pilot bulbs (4w Christmas tree bulbs are too tall!) and made a tray and canvas liner for the bottom. I love the picture windows!

 

WalnutHill

Crowing
5 Years
Mar 16, 2014
7,000
2,268
346
SE Michigan
I am loving this little Leahy. I bought a SpotCheck and inserted it into my silicone dummy egg. After a quarter turn here and an eighth turn there and a 16th turn for good measure, I am dialed in at 99.7 internal egg temp. My stem-type meat thermometer is calibrated to the Brinsea and reads a solid ~100 (too small a dial to get better resolution) no matter where it is placed, other than touching the glass.

I do not care in the least what the air temp is at the moment, it's what the embryos are feeling that makes the difference.

Hatch date is Thursday, so I am turning the eggs by hand until lockdown. I put some eggs from my old layers in the cabinet before they left and moved them to the Leahy two days ago to make room for the latest eggs. I had 50% fertility with 2 mutt roos covering 92 hens. Busy little guys...
 
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HatchCraft

Songster
10 Years
Jan 15, 2011
275
78
178
North Florida
The four window model is unique. I haven't seen one like it. Looks in great shape. As someone who builds wood incubators, I lament the abandonment of wood in favor of foam and plastic, but times change.
 

WalnutHill

Crowing
5 Years
Mar 16, 2014
7,000
2,268
346
SE Michigan
It's in amazing shape, and I got it for the price of two used Little Giants. I don't think it's all that old as the wiring is Romex and the boxes all look new and the tags are self-adhesive heavy foil, but I haven't been able to find any reference to the model anywhere. I hope wood incubators never go away. The days of the massive redwood caverns are gone, but there are a few well crafted incubators that deserve a place in the ranks of tomorrow's antiques, and the funny thing is that many use many of the same features as the Farm Masters and Leahys.

I like that it has no moving parts.

I like the temperature stability of the wafer (though the overly cautious side of me wants to hook up an STC-1000 as a "backup wafer" to shut it down if the temps go too high.

I like the pilot light that shows me when it's on, so I don't keep running over to check the thermometer.

I need to finish my homebuilt cabinet incubator. It's clad in foam sheathing right now as I have been working on the airflow, trying to determine the best place to put the hatching trays. I started them down low, but it's warmer and drier at the bottom so I will be moving them up top, along with the water pan as putting the water pan under the trays was a big mistake thanks to hatch debris. It's ugly right now, but over the winter I want to turn it into a piece of functional furniture.

I am still trying to decide if I really need 200 egg capacity...
 

HatchCraft

Songster
10 Years
Jan 15, 2011
275
78
178
North Florida
The internet has so much information, but not everything. I'm afraid much of the original details about incubator makes and models is lost. If I see something that pertains to your model I will let you know. A backup thermostat is always a good idea, cheap insurance when incubating rare or expensive eggs. I insulated some of the earlier hatchers I built. Definitely helps maintain temp in a cool environment or if there is a temporary power outage. As I live in a warmer climate the problem I encounter was overheating when fully loaded with eggs. A hundred hatching eggs in a small insulated wood box in 80 deg weather generated more heat than was dissipated. After trying a number of designs I settled on the water up top layout. One design that had promise was hatching drawer on the bottom , then the humidity pan shelf and fan above that, with the auto turn trays on top. The air returned at the top and the bottom. In my current design I use a vented hatching drawer with solid bottoms so I could put the water on the bottom without the problem of hatching debris, but prefer it the other way around. I think 200 egg capacity reasonable size.
 

WalnutHill

Crowing
5 Years
Mar 16, 2014
7,000
2,268
346
SE Michigan
Thank you for the very helpful information. My climate can be a bit milder, but insulation isn't really necessary indoors here either. Foam sheathing is a great tool for prototyping, as I can cut and patch holes at will.

I do know that I need to revise mine. This is my first incubator build, and rather than a false back, I used an insulated duct to contain the heating element, mount the fan, and duct heat to the bottom. It's nice as it's a self contained heating system that could easily move to a new box and is in itself fireproof.

I don't have good drawings of it, only my scribbled sketches, but the dimensions are 24" x 24" x 42" T. The inlet is up top, about 7" below the cabinet ceiling, and the fan pushes air into the duct. Just below the fan is a ceramic heating element in a ceramic socket, so the cool air is passed over the heating element. As the fan is plastic, I did not want it located in the duct or near the heating element. The warm air travels all the way down to the bottom of the cabinet, and is ducted with a 90 degree elbow into the bottom of the cabinet. The airflow is good, the temperature consistency within the incubator is good, within 2F top to bottom. The water pan currently sits right in front of the duct outlet, and the warm, moist air rises to the top for recirculation and warming as necessary.

Both temperature and humidity are digitally monitored and controlled. Right now I am using a simple water pan just to maintain humidity at 25-30% during incubation, but when hatch time comes I use an air stone in the water pan to dial the humidity as high as I need. The challenge is that the hatching trays are in the warmest part of the cabinet, and the warm dry air blows right underneath them.

I've considered making a new primary duct outlet below the turner trays, and using an adjustable grate to limit airflow to the hatching trays. But I am not sure how that would affect humidity, or whether I would need to add some sort of a baffle to limit the draft in the hatcher area.

For ventilation, there are two 4" holes in the sides (recycled foam panels) for which I created foam plugs. I insert and tilt these to control fresh air flow. There is also a hole in the top, normally covered with foil tape, to open if humidity goes too high or if the incubator needs more fresh air. It's just a hot, wet air dump at the top of the column in a dead corner, so it is pretty effective.

For the Leahy, I did plug in the STC-1000 last night as a spike limiter. It's set at 38.1C, and the Leahy controller is set at 37.5C, so under normal circumstances the Leahy wafer controls heating. But if it rises to a high but not critical level, the STC will switch off the power. Overnight it held 99.7F internal egg temp, which to me is about perfect.
 
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scflock

Crowing
5 Years
Jan 13, 2015
14,366
2,285
368
Upstate South Carolina
I just saw this thread. That is awesome
thumbsup.gif
 

MANNA-PRO

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