Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

 Last spring I got some chicks that were supposed to be good for setting but so far there have been no signs of trying to set so I decided to set some eggs in an incubator.

I didn't go out and spend dollars on an incubator but made one out of boxes that I had done years ago and had good success with it. Here are the items and steps I used to build one.

Items used to build the incubator

2 cardboard boxes
1x2 board
1x4x6" board
screen netting
extension cord
light socket
25 watt light bulb

pan for water (not shown)
glass to cover larger box (not shown)
wool or newspaper

You need two cardboard boxes. One smaller than the other so that it fits inside the bigger one with at least an inch of space between. I used to tear strips of newspaper to put between the boxes for insulation but this time I thought (since I have tons of it) I would use wool. Does it ever work! On the outside of my box you absolutely can feel no warmth.


Now the 1x2 board is cut to make a frame for the screen netting to fit inside of the smaller box.


Next the screen is attached to this frame. I used a staple gun and stapled about every 1-1/2 to 2 inches. It has to be stretched very tight because the eggs will lay on this.


The next step I put the pan for water in the box and 2 pieces of the 1x2 in a couple corners to raise the frame so that the frame wouldn't lay on the water pan. Solution? Use a 1x4 next time.
Now for the heating light. I first cut the part you plug into off of an extension cord.

First split the cord in two for about 2 inches. Remove the rubber to expose bare wires and attach these to the light bulb base. Now attach the light bulb base to the 1x4x6 inch board. Set this in the middle of the box with a 25 watt bulb. The picture shows on one corner but it worked much better in the center. Put the thermometer in. Place the glass over box to cover, I usually leave a crack for ventilation. Test for several hours to make sure temp is correct. It should be 102 degrees. Mine usually fluctuates between 99 and 102 and works.

The light bulb size will depend on the size of the box and the room temperature. Here is my story on light bulb size. I just knew that I had never used a bulb bigger than a 40 watt bulb but since my box was smaller than what I had used in the past I thought for sure a 25 watt bulb would be good. Nope, 95 degrees, okay I put a 40 watt bulb in, nope, 95 degrees. Well my house is much colder than I used to keep it so that must be the problem. I put a 60 watt bulb in, nope 95 degrees. Good grief! 75 watt is going to cost. Figure the cost, just under $5.00 for the three weeks. Okay I can live with that. In goes the 75 watt bulb, nope 95 degrees. What the heck??? This is crazy! HMMM! Do you think the thermometer could be faulty? So I check the thermometer. Well lookie here, there is a blockage just above the 95 degree mark! Ok, so I did have to go to town to get a new thermometer. But now I'm using a 25 watt bulb just as I had figured.

My next step was to mark the eggs with an x and an o. This is so you can tell that each egg has been turned. I usually turn the eggs twice a day.
Then I place them in the incubator. Thirty-six eggs fit in this one and I'm hoping for about an 80% hatch which would mean about 28-30 eggs. In 21 days I will see.


This is also posted on my blog  http://mountainvalleyfarms.blogspot.com

Views: 14801

Comment by Christa Nelson on March 10, 2011 at 7:43pm
this is great Alla! .......a friend is planning to hatch a bucha chicks this spring, so i'm definitely sharing this post with her!
Comment by Lauren Klouda on March 12, 2011 at 12:20am

Love this! I will be waiting to know if this works out. If so I will be using it next spring. I don't want to keep spending $3.00 a chick every two years for new egg layers and I can never get a hen to go broody. 


Please let us know. I can't wait...

Comment by Melissa Rinier on March 16, 2011 at 10:10pm
This is an awesome plan! I was wondering if an old cooler (we have some that we take camping) would work instead of 2 boxes?
Comment by me on March 16, 2011 at 11:19pm

Melissa -  I do think it would work.  My daughter just built one out of a styrofoam cooler she picked up at work for free and it seems to be working.


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