The cheap and cheesy incubators.. do they work?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Jody, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. Jody

    Jody Songster

    Nov 8, 2009
    Epping, NH
    While at the feed store I saw one of those little cheap and cheesy miniature incubators good for up to 3 eggs.. I've seen them online before, but hesitated in buying one, but now that my rooster has been mating one of the hens, my daughter and I would like to hatch a couple chicks. I didn't splurge the $20 for this thing cause I was uncertain if they actually work or not..

    Then I also thought I should save my money and just hatch eggs inside a fish tank with a lightbulb since it would be very easy to keep it at 99 degrees in this weather.

    What do you think?
  2. Hennypen

    Hennypen Songster

    Jun 14, 2009
    IMO if you're going to hatch eggs and want to be successful, don't get anything less than the Hovabator 1588 w/egg turner. It's set up to go from the start and pretty much hands off after you plug it in.
  3. crossedwires

    crossedwires Chirping

    Jan 19, 2010
    thats a hard question to answer!! cheap bators are generaly unreliable (not always!) but then grandad used to hatch eggs high up in the chimney breast where there was a old recess for cold smoking meats!!! and when i first bred chickens (LONGGGGGGGGGGG time ago) i used a parafin bator!!

    one word of caution it will be a single cheap 3 egg incubator, by this time next year you will be hankering after a 200 egg cabinate bator. you have been duely warned! for $20 i would say give it a go as its probaly more likely to work out than a fishtank and light bulb.
  4. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

    Jan 11, 2010
    $20 for an incubator [​IMG] here in Australia about the cheapest thing you can get brand new is $150. I have two hovabators- one is used just as a hatcher- and have had some very good hatch rates so far.

    Keeping the fish tank at a stable temp may not be quiet so easy- You would need some insulation and a thermostat- a few things would need to be wired up - so an electrician may be needed..... I have my bators inside - out of a draft and can still find it will have small temp shifts. Its always a bit of trial and error to begin with to work out what works best with the incubator you have. It may save a lot of anxiety to buy one.
  5. wolftracks

    wolftracks Spam Hunter

    Nov 6, 2009
    Yes they do work, but maybe you might wan t to build one. Check out the homemade bators on this site and you'll be able to make one even cheaper than the $20.
    Might be fun for your daughter to help build it too.
    None of my homemades have cost more than 15 bucks and that includes a manual turner.
    A lot of people don't like LGs, but I like mine. It hatched a lot of chicks and I use it now as a hatcher. I have a bad habit of adding to my Sportsman about twice a week.
  6. BrownEggFan

    BrownEggFan Songster

    Apr 25, 2010
    Central PA
    Jody, as wolftracks has said, if you're looking for something cheap, I'd build a bator rather than buy a small one. I just finished a new forced air unit this evening and have posted pictures in another thread - This took me about 2 - 3 hours with planning. Depending on what you need to purchase, this should only cost between $10 and $30 and I think it will hatch 18-24 eggs max. Good luck whatever you decide to do!
  7. shellybean40

    shellybean40 Songster

    Apr 15, 2010
    Boerne, TX
    I had great success with my first hatch. I set 24 eggs, and 18 hatched and thrived!! I used the Little Giant styrofoam incubator and the egg turner. I bought a digital thermometer/hygrometer and kept a close watch on the temp and humidity. I think it works great!!
  8. Bloomie

    Bloomie Chirping

    Feb 10, 2010
    Rural Nevada
    I find it so funny to read about how the "ol timers" hatched eggs, and in the durn'dest places, and how stressed we "techy" newbies get with all the fandangled gadgets we have available [​IMG]

    Our broody sat on 5 eggs for me, getting them ready for a summer hatch project with the granchickie.
    Bein's we wanted to witness the actual hatching I bought a not so cheap $100 Little Giant with Forced Air for the last stage.
    We got 3 live chicks out of the 5 eggs.

    We currently have 7 eggs in the same Little Giant, with a $49 automatic egg turner
    ...this time we're hoping to be successful at the artificial hen thang from setting to hatching. [​IMG]

    I'm using a Zilla for temp/humidity reading AND a Springfield temp/humidity reader thats been calibrated ( to see how close the Zilla actually is)
    I find that keeping the temp regulated in the LG is far more difficult than the humidity.

    Not having any thing else to choose from locally, the LG was my only option.
    I'd be curious to learn how the $20 incubator works.
  9. SweetMotherOfMars

    SweetMotherOfMars Chirping

    Aug 24, 2009
    The Palouse
    I say go for the homemade bator, too. Mine is an adaptation of MissPrissy's Chic Chic Bator:

    We had a couple of old computers in the garage, so I liberated a power supply and kept only the housing and fan. Happily we'd been given a nice thick Omaha Steaks Styrofoam cooler for the main body.
    (Someone else used the same thing for an ottoman these things are tough!)

    The only things I needed to buy were the water heater thermostat, lamp kit, and bulb. Does it work? Yes! We've had several hatches in the last year and this month I hatched 20 out of 23 eggs that went into lockdown. (For the record, it was my youngest daughter's idea and she learned about electricity as well as egg development!)

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