The cardboard box incubator!


10 Years
Dec 31, 2011
The world
UPDATE (after 1/2 an hour, I know.): This project is going to be too hard I think, without an automatic turner. I think I'll just buy some chicks. Kinda stupid. I don't like abandoning it, but yeah.

Anyways, has anyone ever been to Wes's Pets and Feed in El Monte (CA, don't know if there is another one somewhere in the world)?

It's a cardboard box incubator! Just because . . . I am a *student* doing a project. Trying to hatch 6 TJ's fertile eggs in a cardboard box incubator. Eggs are in! It's made of a small cardboard box with a lightbulb in a holder-majiggy with a cage thing. The eggs are on a hand towel to make sure they don't roll around. The temperature drops quite a bit when I opened it to put the eggs in, though. It went from 100º F to 90º F. Still heating back up!. But I really am excited. Don't know why, as the eggs probably won't hatch, but we shall see! Well I will, at least.
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I recommend getting a hygrometer, if you don't have one, the hygrometer is needed during the hatching period. I know of people who have hatched eggs in plastic bowls under a desk lamp. They only had one or two hatch, but hatching eggs doesn't have to be a science. It is pretty simple if you know what you are doing. I recommend not adding water until the last three days. The last three days you might want to move the eggs to a plastic container and place it on top of a heat mat. Add lots of water, and poke a few holes, and let the chicks come to you. Good Luck! After you do this you will probably want an incubator.
How would not having an automatic turner make it too hard? You've just got to turn the eggs by hand three times a day or so. Doesn't have to be at exactly the same time every day. My incubator holds 100 eggs at a time and I don't have an automatic turner.
Oh my. I guess it's just too hard to get the temp right, the humidity right, etc. etc. especially with a frickin' CARDBOARD BOX!! I had it at around 100.5 degrees and when I opened it to put the eggs in, it went down to 89º. It takes a while to warm up as well. I am not going to be at home everyday (two houses) and If I do go to Mum's house, I'll be at school for 7 hours, occasionally with an hour and a half at afterschool.
I think it would just be too hard over all. I really hate to leave it though. As my friend said, "that stuff's not for begginers". I bet it would be easier if we had a better incubator, even if it's homemade.
Don't feel bad. I tried to build one this fall out of a Styrofoam cooler with a light bulb wired to a water heater thermostat. Never could get the temps to regulate close enough. Would swing from 106* down to 90*. Never even tried any eggs in it.

Stick with it. I'm a high school science teacher and I can tell you with certainty that cardboard box incubators can hatch chicks. Been there, done that. There was also a thread a couple of years ago about someone who actually hatched some fertile Trader Joe eggs.

The problems of the temperature drop and the humidity are issues to be solved as a part of your experiment. Why does it drop when you open the box? Why do you have to open the box? What might you do to decrease the temperature loss?

What did your background research on the necessary conditions for egg hatching tell you about temperature, humidity and other experimental variables?

This is all part of the experimental procedure and will impress judges at Science Fair when you tell them how you solved some of the problems that you encountered.

Keep in mind one incredibly important thing: What are your plans for the chicks that you hatch? (I'm assuming success here.) You might find a home for them now. Many states have rules and regulations in Science Fair about using live animals and care and concern. This also is part of your experiment.

Keep us posted as to your results.

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Remember that just because the temp drops briefly in the incubator it doesn't mean that your eggs are dropping temperature that quickly. An egg is dense and will hold the temp longer than the air will. Just close the box back up quickly and you should be fine!

Hang in there ... if you get a hatch it'll all be worth it! If not, you will still know that you gave it a shot.
Remember not to disclose age.

That said, when I was your age, I did make an incubator with a cardboard box, saran wrap, and a heat lamp. Put in about 2 dozen eggs from my own birds, got 4 chicks, culled two because of splay legs due to bad temp regulation. But I did have two chicks!

It was a fun time, good learning experience, and is possible, just not optimal results. Might as well try.
Thanks for the help and stuff you given. I will try it again, but I am going to get chicks on the weekend so that'll give me the four that we want. Maybe I'll get two from the store and try to hatch two myself? I don't know, but I'd rather get used to chickens before trying to hatch them.

fiberart57: I got the idea from that thread, actually
It isn't for a science fair, I just felt like it, but that will be great help if I do do it for a science fair! Thanks for the info.

And quintinp, you said "I know of people who have hatched eggs in plastic bowls under a desk lamp." That is awesome! It sounds hard, though. I might just try that.

But yeah. Thanks for the guidance, help, and all the other things you've given.

I will try it again! Maybe not now, but I will!! In the summer!
Does anyone know how to make a brooder and it's supplies?

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