Hand Made Egg Incubator

The Incubator

I wanted to make a really cost effective incubator that was reliable and worked properly.
I needed a design that was low cost, trouble free and easy to use.
This is what he incubator ended up looking like on completion.

இந்தப் படத்தைக் காண்பிப்பதற்கு உங்கள் உலாவியின் ஆதரவு இல்லாமல் இருக்கலாம்.

The incubator I created was big enough to hold at least 15 eggs and maintain eggs at a temperature of 102 F which suited my chicken eggs. Its is however fully adjustable to accomodate other egg types.
The important question is how much does it cost to make your own incubator in relation to buying a new one.
In the UK its hard to get hold of a cheap really basic model for under £50.00.
To make one can cost upwards of £12.00 depending on whether you buy new or recycle.
The main components needed to make your own incubator are:
  • Thermostat - This is probably the most important and expensive component of the incubator.
  • Insulated box - I used a nice clean new one with windows in it, or you can find an old cool box or fish box etc
  • Bulb and holder - Simply a light bulb to provide heat with holder for good connection.
  • Power supply - You need 12 volts direct current to power the thermostat I used. That means a plug in adaptor is requires or second best is a 12 volt battery with charger.
  • Water container - This can be made up of a small egg cup sized container for holding water to create humidity.
  • Thermometer/hygrometer - An accurate thermometer is essential to ensure the thermostat is set at the correct temperature. The hygrometer measures humidity which can be an important factor in a good hatch.

Heat Source

A light bulb is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to provide heat inside your homemade incubator. A bulb is very reliable, low cost and safe to use.
I prefer to use a 12 volts power supply to power a simple low voltage halogen bulb. The most common ones range from 10 watts up to 50 watts.

இந்தப் படத்தைக் காண்பிப்பதற்கு உங்கள் உலாவியின் ஆதரவு இல்லாமல் இருக்கலாம்.

I find a 10 watt bulb is suffice to get the temperature up and over 100 degrees F in my smaller incubator.

இந்தப் படத்தைக் காண்பிப்பதற்கு உங்கள் உலாவியின் ஆதரவு இல்லாமல் இருக்கலாம்.

To keep things tidy its also a nice inexpensive idea to get hold of a cheap lamp holder. I used a small low voltage halogen option which worked fine and ensured a good connection.

இந்தப் படத்தைக் காண்பிப்பதற்கு உங்கள் உலாவியின் ஆதரவு இல்லாமல் இருக்கலாம்.

So that should be all you need for a simple and effective heat source for your incubator.A light bulb is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to provide heat inside your homemade incubator. A bulb is very reliable, low cost and safe to use.

Incubator Thermostat

The thermostat is one of the most essential parts of the incubator. It also is usually one of the most expensive.
I have made adjustments to the thermostat I supply so it works at incubation temperatures and holds a tighter hysteresis. (termperature range)

இந்தப் படத்தைக் காண்பிப்பதற்கு உங்கள் உலாவியின் ஆதரவு இல்லாமல் இருக்கலாம்.

The thermostat operates a relay which opens and closes the circuit to the bulb at specific temperature ranges.
This keeps temperature in the incubator within one degree either side of your desired temperature.

Insulated Container

The incubator needs to retain heat at the desired temperature.
To achieve this you will need to acquire or make an insulated box/cabinet.

இந்தப் படத்தைக் காண்பிப்பதற்கு உங்கள் உலாவியின் ஆதரவு இல்லாமல் இருக்கலாம்.

I prefer to use a polystyrene box, they are light, clean, cheap and easy to work with. I have heard of people using coolboxes, plywood containers, old fridges and anything that provides heat insulation.
The insulated container needs to allow ventilation. While the embryo is developing, oxygen enters the egg through the shell and carbon dioxide escapes in the same manner. As the chicks hatch, they require an increased supply of fresh oxygen.
Unobstructed ventilation holes, both above and below the eggs, are essential for proper air exchange.
Humidity is very important in your incubator, a small bowl or pot of water can help to create about 55% - 60% humidity. Its not the volume of water that matters, more the surface area.
A basic hygrometer should be used to check this and alterations can be made to the amount of surface water.
The box should allow access to enable egg turning.
With a polystyrene box this is really easy as you just pop up the lid to hand turn them.
You can also add a small window to view into the box to check on progress and any problems.

Power Supply

To power the incubator we need a reliable inexpensive power supply to energise the thermostat and heat source.
For the thermostat/incubator to work an adaptor is needed to change the 240 volt AC mains supply to a 12 volt DC (Direct Current) output.
In my view the easiest and simplest way is to power the heat source (bulb) and thermostat with the same 12 volt power supply is make two circuits.
That means running two simple circuits, one to power the incubator and one to power the bulb or heat source.
இந்தப் படத்தைக் காண்பிப்பதற்கு உங்கள் உலாவியின் ஆதரவு இல்லாமல் இருக்கலாம்.
If your powering both the bulb and thermostat by the one transformer (the cheapest way) it is essential the adaptor provides enough amps to power both components.
If you run a larger incubator, you will need a larger heat source so an increased rated adaptor would be required. Perhaps a 3000ma (3 amp) rates supply.
Usually 1000ma (1 amp) or more will be required to power a small 10 watt bulb and the thermostat like the incubator I designed.
There are other means to supply 12 volts DC, but I found this to be the easiest!!

Using the incubator

Getting the eggs to ambient
Your eggs need to settle for a minimum of 12 hours before incubation. Eggs should always be stored with the pointy end down prior to incubation.
Setting the temperature
Once you have your incubator plugged in the first job is to set the temperature.
The most difficult part of this is to make sure you have an accurate thermometer. This is critical in calibrating the incubator and setting a suitable temperature, a few degrees out and you will encounter problems.
After the first hatch, you can raise or lower the temperature by what the hatch tells you. If they hatched early the temperature needs to be lowered. If they hatch late the temperature needs to be raised.
It is much more damaging to have your incubator set higher rather than colder. Although it is not recommended, slightly lower temperatures will not kill the chick embryos, but can increase incubation times and possibly produce weakened chicks.
Having the incubator too high will result in no eggs hatching at all.

இந்தப் படத்தைக் காண்பிப்பதற்கு உங்கள் உலாவியின் ஆதரவு இல்லாமல் இருக்கலாம்.

The first job is to turn the dial on the thermostat fully clockwise to let the thermostat heat up to your approx target temperature 100 F.
Examining the thermostat in the incubator once this approximate temperature is achieved then turn dial back until the bulb switches off. You are now at the approximate incubation temperature. Its a good idea now to make small changes to the dial to fine tune and get your ideal temperature. The homemade still-air incubator (no fan): should be around 38.5 degrees measured at the TOP of the eggs.
Adding the eggs to the Incubator
By the time you have got your eggs ready for setting your incubator should have been running at least 24 hours. This gives you time to learn what’s going to happen in your incubator and allows you to make any necessary adjustments before setting your eggs.
A definite way to ruin hatching eggs is to put them in the incubator without having it properly adjusted. If the eggs reach an internal temperature of 105 degrees you can kiss them good-bye. Take note that I said “internal” temperature. Don’t confuse internal egg temperature with internal incubator temperature. The temperature in an incubator changes constantly, rising and lowering. The temperature inside the egg will be an average of this temperature swing in your incubator.
The ideal humidity in the incubator for the first 18 days is 55 - 60%. You can add a small tub of water if required if you are struggling to achieve this level. In the last three days before hatching some people recommend increasing the humidity levels up to 70% by adding more surface water. You can sneak by with humidity numbers that aren’t very accurate, but the combination of poor humidity and temperature will definitely cause problems at hatch time.
If your temperature is not accurate you will DEFINITELY have problems at hatch time. The bigger the deviation from the proper temperature, the bigger your problems will be.

இந்தப் படத்தைக் காண்பிப்பதற்கு உங்கள் உலாவியின் ஆதரவு இல்லாமல் இருக்கலாம்.

As seasons change, so does humidity. When you are incubating eggs in January and February it will be very difficult to maintain a humidity that is as high as you like. That’s because the outside humidity is so low. By the same token, when you are incubating in June and July the outside humidity is usually much greater and the humidity in your incubator will most likely get much higher.
Hatching problems will change as the season progresses. If you are doing things the same way in July as you were in January, you have to expect different results. All I am trying to say here is that your incubator humidity changes directly according to the outside humidity. Low outside, low in the incubator. High outside, high in the incubator. To adjust for these problems, you need to change the surface area of water in your incubator.
We also have to remember that our incubator needs to keep the eggs at an average temperature. It will swing below and above the target temperature a degree either way as the bulb switches off and switches back on.
Turning the Eggs
Turning them is critical. A good tip is to turn your eggs an odd number of times each day. This is important so you don’t leave the eggs laying on the same side each night which is the longest period of time they go each day without turning. Draw a small pencil line on one side of each egg. Then when you turn them, it will be easy to see that you switched them from one side to the other. Most eggs will be turned on their sides. Try to set the eggs so that the large end of the egg with the air sac is higher than the small end.
The incubator is simple and works well but please be aware of the following.
  • If the thermistor sensor in the incubator is touching the eggs your thermostat will be effected and the temperature will alter.
  • An accurate thermostat is essential, if in doubt use two.
  • A good tip is to use a hygrometer to know the humidity in the air. Adding a reservoir full of water when the air humidity is already 70% won’t be useful to your hatch.
  • A thermostat touching eggs will also produce inaccurate readings.
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16 comments -இந்த பதிவிற்கு..

  1. Anonymous



  2. Thanks for explaining how to do this. Tweeted.

  3. Anonymous

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