What am I doing wrong here? Temp keeps fluctuating

woman_in_shoe

In the Brooder
9 Years
May 26, 2010
60
0
39
We built a homemade incubator and the temperature keeps fluctuating up and down, going from 96 up to 103. By now the chicks are probably dead. We are using a 40 watt bulb and a dimmer switch, plus we have a fan. We even tried a hot water heater thermostat and the temp kept fluctuating. Any suggestions as to what I am doing wrong
 

CorralitosSunflower

Songster
10 Years
Jun 24, 2009
212
7
111
Corralitos
I don't know the answer to your question as I have never made a homemade incubator. I did have some issues with fluxuating temps. While it is not ideal in my experience as long as it doesn't go for more than a couple of hours I have still had some decent hatch rates with temps going from 98 and at one point up to 102.5. I think 103 and 96 is pushing the bar too much though. I hope you get it figured out!!!
I know it is very frustrating
 

woman_in_shoe

In the Brooder
9 Years
May 26, 2010
60
0
39
Still have not figured it out!!!! It is driving me crazy!!
We even tried a hotwater heater thermostat and experienced major fluctuation. ANYBODY have any suggestions as to what else we can try?




Quote:
 

saladin

Songster
10 Years
Mar 30, 2009
2,831
129
221
the South
With your specific incubator I can't say for sure, but generally there are fluctuations because the temp in the room where the incubator is has fluctuations or the incubator is not insulated properly.

My incubator sits in the garage where the temps go up and down constantly but because it is properly insulated the temps do not fluctuate more than .2 of a degree.
 

aka Rachel

Songster
10 Years
Sep 15, 2009
312
0
119
Ottawa Valley, Ontario, Canada
My incubator is home made as well, from a styrofoam cooler.

I use a light bulb for the heat source and a hot water tank temp guage to set it. There is no fan. When I was initially setting up my 'bator, I would notice the light wouldn't come back on till it cooled waaaaay down! So, in the end, I moved the water heater guage almost right on top of the bulb. I find it turns on and off quicker, keeping the temps a little more stable.

I also have sealed jars of water in the bottom of the 'bator to help hold the temps steady.

Also, I could never find a water wiggler, so put a termometer into a glass of water in the bator (prior to eggs) to get an idea of the more overall temps, not just when light was on or off.

Good luck!
 

Charles07

Songster
9 Years
Apr 10, 2010
166
0
109
Sheridan, Indiana
I use a hot/cold pack as a heat sink, you know, the kind that you can freeze or microwave to keep food hot or cold (or even use on a sore muscle/injury).

It took 24 hours for the temperature to stabilize, but once it did it kept the needle on my analog thermometer so stable that at first I thought that it was broken.

Like Rachel suggested, I keep my thermostat about 3-4 inches away from the heat source for finer control.
 

chicmom

Dances with Chickens
10 Years
Feb 24, 2009
8,696
275
316
Strasburg Ohio
Some things to think about that are really simple: Is your incy in a drafty place? Away from all windows?
 

Kedreeva

Longfeather Lane
10 Years
Jun 10, 2010
2,348
407
286
Michigan
Make sure your incubator is in a draft free place (closet, closed garage, windowless bathroom, etc) where it does not catch sunlight part of the time. Make sure you are not opening and closing the incubator a lot. If the walls of the incubator are thin or styrofoam, it is probably sensitive to environmental changes (like how your house warms up a little when the sun is out, vs. at night).

A good suggestion is to add some form of heat sink- a few smooth, clean stones, a bottle of water, baby food jars with holes punched in the tops, a heat/cold pack like you'd use in a cooler to keep beverages cool. All of these things will take in heat when there's too much and give off stored heat when there's too little, helping to maintain a steady temp in the incubator.

If your humidity is fluxing a lot as well, that may be affecting your temperature slightly.
 

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