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Homemade incubator

I wanted to hatch some chicks from fertile eggs in the post. Council doesn’t let me keep roosters so I had the choice of getting point of lay hens or to hatch some from fertile eggs in the post. My last 2 hens were Australorps (standards) and I found that they were too big for my suburban backyard so I wanted to replace them with bantams. A nice man came around to take Anabel and Blackie to their new home in the mountains where they have lots of room. This is how my first incubator looked like – it’s made from a styrofoam brocolli box that had a lid. Heat source is an incandescent bulb – 60W. I hooked up an old computer fan to circulate the air. A takeaway container below the fan/light bulb served as a water container to maintain humidity at the desired range. Wire separated the egg chamber from the water/heat source. I also put some aluminum foil in front of the bulb to stop the heat from directly hitting the eggs.

homemade incubator heat source

Poked some holes in the lid for ventilation and put a viewing window (perspex from a picture frame)

homemade incubator ventilation holes and viewing window

My thermostat – I didn’t know where to get one so I got one from a store that sold beer brewing products. Since then I’ve learnt that it’s not the best one to get because it’s not as accurate as it should be – it should read to 1 decimal place. I didn’t want to cut holes in a plastic junction box so I ended up using my son’s lego pieces to build a box for it – it’s perfect!

thermostat for homemade incubator

Here’s the result :

thermostat for homemade incubator

What I’d do differently :

  • Make the viewing window bigger
  • Make the viewing window double paned – when I increased humidity during the last few days of hatching, the window tends to fog up and it’s distressing not being able to see!
  • Make a permanent wall between the egg chamber and the water source because on the last hatch one of the chicks squeezed past the wire and drowned in the takeaway container
  • Make it so that the heat is circulated more uniformly throughout the egg chamber
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