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To incubate or not to incubate? and how? That is my question...

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by JerseyHen, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. JerseyHen

    JerseyHen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am sorely tempted to try hatching as a means to get the rare breeds that I am interested in, and to be able to further my flock in the future (once I have discovered what my favorite breed is and aquire good stock). I am terrified of the chicken math that might follow, but still willing to go there. [​IMG] I can tell by reading these posts that those who do it feel it is fun, worthwhile, and clearly addicting . So here are my questions. I am pretty sure I would like to try it (for all the obvious reasons and so my DD can have the experience of hatching her own chickens), but should I attempt to make my own incubator or buy one?

    As to buying an incubator: Considering that I would probably only hatch a few times a year (unless I decide to do hatches for meat birds), I would rather not spend a lot to do this. Are the lower end incubators worth buying (still air models look like they run less than 100). How important is it to have one that regulates temperature? Humidity? That have a fan? Auto turning?

    As to building my own: I have most of what I think I would need to build one (scrap cabinets and coolers, computer fans, old lamps, power adapters, etc (my DH saves everything). I would rate myself as DIY medium. Power tools, ok, basic repairs, ok, small building projects, ok, and I can wire a lamp, but I am not sure about an incubator. I am only just beginning to understand how they work. I can't seem to figure out how you do the lamp to thermostat to power source wiring. The fan seems straight forward, the humidity source and egg tray also straight forward. Should I give it a shot given that most of the supplies are just "spare" stuff anyway?

    Is the hatch rate significantly different between a newbie using a ready made and a newbie using one they made? Does making your own help you to understand the hatching process?

    Should I forget hatching and just order day old chicks from those of you who do it all the time?

    I would appreciate any of your thoughts your experience or ideas that you might have to assist me in making a decision on this.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  2. mohillbilly

    mohillbilly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    those still air incubators are junk ....building one is easy ....or you can get a fan forced one to start with. but i would stay away from the still air ones as being new your hatch rate might be lower until you have a couple under your belt, and the still air ones are the hardest to get a good hatch from..
     
  3. jerryb

    jerryb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    my daughter and I have been learning to hatch and I would say that realizing that you will need to do a few hatches to figure out how your incubator works should be part of your plan. You should try to locate some local fertile eggs, even if they are just barnyard mutts. That is what I have been working with, local barnyard mutts. I do not have any roosters at my place so no go on using my own.

    If you are a do it yourself type then you can certainly search some recent threads here and find something that appeals to you and is within your range to build. I built the incubator that I am using and it seems to be working fine now that I have it dialed in.

    If you build your own the one thing I would spend the money on is the heating element. I used light bulbs, and they are doing fine, but I will change out to a regular heating element soon. you can buy one for around 20 bucks with the insulators all ready to go. they will have zero risk of burning out and will have the heating capacity to do the job well.

    there are several wiring diagrams posted in those threads, but the thermostat is just a switch and is wired the same way.

    Good luck,
    Jerry
     
  4. JerseyHen

    JerseyHen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 10, 2011
    Sussex County, NJ
    Thanks for the information. I am planning on using some of my own eggs for the first few hatches (I have several types breeds and 3 dark brahma roos, but only 1 dark brahma hen, I will try to get her eggs to start with). I guess I will putter in the workshop and see what I have and then see how construction goes. My cousin is an electrician, I suppose he might wire it for me (probably take him a tenth of the time it would take me and I would know it would be right). What type of thermostat should I buy (that is the one item I don't have) and I have light socket stuff, but no heating element items. Where do you get a heating element from?

    If it doesn't work, then I can buy one (or buy better parts, I suppose).
     
  5. mohillbilly

    mohillbilly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    you can order anything you need from cutler supplies
     

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