What is the bare minimum for homemade incubator

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by newchickmom09, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. newchickmom09

    newchickmom09 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2009
    ARIZONA
    Do to all kinds of crazy shipping problems and ebay seller [​IMG] I am getting more eggs then I wanted and about 3 weeks late. My broody GLW will hatch out the eggs that are under her on the 10th of this month. She will be sitting for about 6 weeks after these eggs hatch. So the last thing I want to do is give her more eggs. None of my other hens are broody right now so my last resort is to make a incubator. I was wondering what is the bare minimum that I need to have an effective incubator.

    I was wondering if you really need a fan. I have a styrofoam cooler and my thoguht was if I put that heat lamp to where it keeps a constant temp, put a pan of water in the bottom with a screen over it for the eggs to set on, and a funnel with a tube attached to the bottom to fill up the pan of water without having to lift the lid, would this work. I guess this would be considered a still air incubator. Will this work or not?
     
  2. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

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    What no one answered you?

    Pbbbltth. Fridays.

    A fan will keep your temps more stable, but you need to watch the humidity then. It is not necessary--as lots of incubators are plain-ol still air. I forget where you are? I have a couple of fans needing homes.
     
  3. slackwater

    slackwater Chillin' With My Peeps

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    SoMD
    My first incubator was an old wooden crate, with teh slats stuffed with towels. I had a light bulb fixture hooked to a thermostat that I adjsuted to reach the desired temp. I had a pan of water int he bottom, and the eggs sat on an old screen above the pan.

    All howevermany eggs I set (I don't remember, it was that long ago!) hatched and went on to thrive. I was, what, 15 at the time? Pretty successful, for being so rudimentary, if you ask me! On the other hand, I have a 25% hatch rate with the newest 'bator I bought...LOL!
     
  4. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Charlotte, NC
    Basic minimum is whatever it takes to maintain a reasonably steady temp at the right level. Folks in some parts of the world incubate eggs using rice bags that are heated in the sun. Others have successfully hatched eggs in a bra, under a heat lamp, and in an oven. So I would say the bare minimum is pretty bare.

    Obviously, the more bells and whistles (properly applied), the less hassle for the operator & the higher percentage of success. If you can get a styrofoam cooler to maintain a steady 99-100 degree temp with just a lightbulb, power to ya. It should work. You add water pans for humidity and you're in business.

    If you have trouble maintaining the right temp, a thermostat can be a huge help--prevents you having to manually turn the bulb on and off to get the right temperature.

    Don't forget to turn your eggs regularly, and candling is always a good idea.

    But like I said, if your cooler work gets the temp right, then I say go for it. [​IMG]
     
  5. newchickmom09

    newchickmom09 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2009
    ARIZONA
    Quote:[​IMG] Thats what I was thinking Fridays...what a great day to need a question answered. [​IMG] I am outside of Tucson.

    I guess I am going to try and see what I can make....I don't want these eggs going to waste.
     
  6. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

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    Jul 17, 2009
    My "Incubator of Death" will be free this afternoon. You are welcome to borrow it if you are up this way, but with the price of gas--it would still probably be cheaper just to buy one. Plus, who wants to use an incubator named "The Incubator of Death"?
     
  7. msheets

    msheets Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hurricane, WV
    My dad made a bator a few years back & he bought a "dimmer" switch for like under $6. He had it wired up to the heat lamp, which worked better (& easier) than manually turning the bulb itself.
     
  8. newchickmom09

    newchickmom09 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2009
    ARIZONA
    Quote:[​IMG] Thanks! I think I am going to try to make something work out of what I have. [​IMG]

    What happens if you have to much humidity?
     
  9. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

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    It is almost impossible to get too much humidity in our part of the world. I struggle to maintain 35%-55% most times. They call that a "dry hatch" [​IMG]

    But to answer your question--not enough liquid will evaporate from the inside of the egg, and the chick could drown when it pips into the air cell. It is more likely your chicks will not have enough, and you'll see problems with the membranes "shrink wrapping" the chicks.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2010
  10. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Charlotte, NC
    If your average humidity is too high during incubation, your air cells won't develop well. Underdeveloped air cells can lead to the babies drowning after pipping internally, because they can't keep their little bills above the membrane and in the air sac. This has happened to me more than once, and my hatch rates improved dramatically when I lowered my incubating humidity dramatically.

    Too high humidity during the hatch can (I have heard) lead to drowning because of condensation that can gather inside the shell--but I have never had this happen. My experience has been that during lockdown, the higher the better.

    If your average humidity during incubation is too low, the air cell can overdevelop and stunt the growth of the baby. I have never had this happen, but I imagine it can and does in areas of low ambient humidity (I live in the humid southeast).

    Too low humidity during the hatch can lead to the membranes drying out and preventing the chicks from turning in the shell to open it and hatch out. This is usually salvageable by helping the babies hatch, but it's certainly not ideal.

    Good luck!
     

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