I have 6 Golden Comet hens and a Barred Rock roo, and decided to test my skills at hatching some eggs to increase our flock of really great layers. I put in an order from our feed store for an incubator, and it was going to cost $185. Someone forgot to actually put it on the order, so I was forced to make my own. Actually, I chose to make my own, feeling all handy and stuff I used a styrofoam cooler, a lamp and some water dishes with sponges. I used the glass out of a picture frame for a window and secured it with duck tape. It's definitely not a looker, but it's doing the job. I tested it for 2 days before I added the eggs, and had some ups and downs getting the temp and humidity to cooperate once I added the eggs. There have been fluctuations in both temp and humidity, but I think I've finally gotten the hang of it. The best part, it cost me $28, including the thermometer and hygrometer. On day 4 I candled for the first time, and that ended in a traumatic episode for me. I dropped on egg onto another resulting in two cracked eggs that had to be discarded. I thought I would have a look inside to see if anything was actually going on. Imagine my horror when I could see heartbeats in both! I cried. It wasn't a very nice feeling. We've since had 2 more eggs stop growing. One we opened and found a perfectly formed embryo on day 9, but it was no longer alive. It had a very visible blood ring, and I knew it was gone. The next night, when candling, I had another suspected dead embryo, but decided to leave it in there, just in case. 2 days later, when I opened the incubator to turn them, I was hit with the most awful smell! There was no doubt that the embryo had died. I removed it, but didn't open it....I couldn't bear the smell. We are down to 9 viable eggs, due to hatch this weekend. I would have never believed that I would be so excited to hatch chicks! We are still in the dead of winter here, cold temperatures and lots of snow. I know I'm hatching too early for these parts, but it just gives me a reason to keep these little girls (fingers crossed) in the house for a little while longer. I am having an issue getting the humidity above 55, so I'm a little concerned with the last few days. I'm going to do a little more research and see what I can come up with for raising the humidity.