Omaha Steaks coolers...

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by blzzrdqueen, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. blzzrdqueen

    blzzrdqueen Chillin' With My Peeps

    450
    5
    93
    Mar 6, 2013
    Albany NY
    I am picking up two Omaha Steaks cooler today, for turning them into incubators...last week I bought one of those walmart ones and I just wasn't impressed with it...so I looked around on craigslist and placed a wanted ad and someone answered and said he had two!! So has anyone used these for their homemade incubators?
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    7,544
    172
    316
    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    I have two incubators made from Omaha Steaks coolers and I love how thick the styrofoam is. They work great. I had one hatch last year that was 100% and another that was 90%.
     
  3. Matt-va

    Matt-va New Egg

    6
    1
    9
    Mar 14, 2013
    Cool, I also made one from a steak cooler....
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. kgardiner

    kgardiner Out Of The Brooder

    78
    0
    41
    Dec 12, 2011
    North Port, FL
    I am attempting to make on as well... the temp kept getting way too high though.. I tried a 25 watt clear bulb and was still too hot. What size bulb are you using?
     
  5. dchick

    dchick New Egg

    1
    0
    6
    Mar 23, 2013
    Put the Thermostat closer to the light. I am using a 40 watt bulb and then a hot water heater thermostat to shut it off at the right temp. Played with it for about 4 days, best to just let it heat everything up in the chest and then try and regulate the temp, mine is staying right at 100 now. Just put two eggs in from my flock...9 hens, will see in 21 days. I also got a cheep indoor Temp/humidity guage and it is right at 50% humidity right now. I do have the thermostat almost on top of the light, and I also have a little temprature guage on wall right across from the light same level as my egg rack. My egg rack is a board with holes to lay the eggs in and I got all my ideas off the web. Sure hope it works. good luck to you.
     
  6. blzzrdqueen

    blzzrdqueen Chillin' With My Peeps

    450
    5
    93
    Mar 6, 2013
    Albany NY
    Can you post pics?
     
  7. kgardiner

    kgardiner Out Of The Brooder

    78
    0
    41
    Dec 12, 2011
    North Port, FL
    Hot water heater thermostat? Good idea... hardware store I imagine? Thanks for the info
     
  8. Matt-va

    Matt-va New Egg

    6
    1
    9
    Mar 14, 2013
    I tried the hot water thermostat, but could not get a good temp. difference, best I could do was 5-6 deg. swing. The hot water heater thermostat was $10, but for $16 I got a faster acting thermstat with only a 1.2 deg swing. http://incubatorwarehouse.com/bi-metal-egg-incubator-thermostat-kit.html , If you look in my picture I placed a old PC fan under the light bulb, and the thermostat right above the light bulb, drilled a hole in the lid so I could make adjustments without removing lid and losing heat .... works great...
     
  9. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    7,544
    172
    316
    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    I've heard that feedback on hot water heater therms many times. The OP asked for pics. Here are mine. It is a very different set up than the typical home-built but works great. Took a little "thinking outside the box", but once I realized the supplies I already had on hand for keeping herps would work here too, it went together very easily and quickly.

    This is the thermostat I use. It works to keep the temperature precisely where I want it:

    [​IMG]

    And here is the heating element - a reptile heating pad. This goes on the bottom of the cooler (heat rises). You can see the fan on top of it. To the right of the fan, its hard to see, but there is a hole large enough to pass out the cords to both the heating pad and the fan.
    [​IMG]

    A basket on the outside of the cooler holds the cords and the thermostat. A probe from the thermostat feeds back into the same hole and is how the thermostat knows when to cycle on/off. I sit the probe on top of - or preferably wedged between - two eggs so that it is measuring the temperature at egg level.
    [​IMG]

    On top of the heating pad, two bowls to fill with water for humidity. The baskets upturned are so that there is no chance a chick can fall in, and also to provide support for the shelf that will hold the eggs.
    [​IMG]

    The shelf is 1/4" hardware cloth cut to fit. You can now see the probe, ready to be placed where needed.
    [​IMG]

    On top of the hardware cloth, a sheet of shelf liner. Humidity and heat rise easily through it but it gives the eggs a soft place to lie and the chicks can learn to walk around without getting spraddle legs.
    [​IMG]

    Most important step and easily overlooked - ventilation. I took a sharp pencil and used it to punch multiple holes in both ends of the cooler. You can also see a larger hole - this is sized to fit a cork so that I can plug it if needed (have never needed to. It allows me to feed a flexible tube in and add water during lockdown if necessary.
    [​IMG]

    For a viewing window, I went to a thrift store, found a picture frame with glass intact, and purchased it for 50c. I took the glass and traced its outline on the cooler lid. Then I cut 1" in from my marking. Next I scored the actual traced line, and with an exacto knife cut horizontally from my cut out to the scored line. This created a frame - just like a picture frame - for the glass to sit, so that it sits flush with the cooler lid.
    [​IMG]

    While incubation is in progress, I sit the cut out piece of styrofoam over the glass, to minimize heat loss.
    [​IMG]


    I've had wonderful hatches in this incubator. Last year I had a 100% hatch rate followed by 90%, from my own eggs.
     
  10. Matt-va

    Matt-va New Egg

    6
    1
    9
    Mar 14, 2013
    Thats preatty cool way to control heat.....
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by