Calling all "judges" for the annual DG County Fair! Vote for your favorites here!

A homemade egg incubator........maybe.

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Hey all, I put together a kooky contraption to incubate some eggs. It was fun building it and I'm quite pleased with how it seems to be working. Now lets see if the eggs think so. Wish I had a digital camera so I could post you some pics. Sorry

Having a hard time candleing the brown eggs though. Can't seem to see thru them.

Anyone else ever tried making one of these ? How did it work for you ?

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

i am clueless. but i can't wait to se how this works for you!

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Yeah, it's fun and I can hardly wait too. I get so excited about the simplest things. :)
I check on it constantly to make sure the temperature is staying constant and turn them every few hours. You'd think I was an ole mother hen or something :)
Kids all grown, empty nest syndrome. LOL Gotta mother somebody !

Actually, now I have time to do all these wonderful hobbies that I never had time for while raising kids. I love it.

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

So far, here's what I've got in it. I just got the plain digital thermometer for temp and am kinda guessing about the humidity. If you need to know for sure, there is a digital thermometer at Lowe's that reads the temp and humidity on the same probe. It's about twice the price, but still a good deal when considering how much a good incubator costs.


So far, this is a still air incubator with ventilation. If this is not adequate, I can add the little turbo fan that they have at the co-op for another $ 20.

Also, they have the automatic turner that I might add later on if needed.
But I don't think I'll need it cause I like fussing over these eggs, and what else do I have to occupy my time ?

Digital thermometer (Lowe's) $ 9.98
Incubator thermostat (Co-op) 19.95
Light socket & cord (garage sale) 1.00
Glass for window ( from old pic frame) -0-
75 watt bulb (already had one at home) -0-
Insulating Foam Board (Scrap from construction site) -0-
Cake cooling rack (from my kitchen) -0-
Sponge for humidity .50
Duct Tape (DH had a roll of it) -0-
Black electrical tape (approx 3 ft. of it) Courtesy of DH again -0-
_______

Total spent...... $ 30.43

Not bad so far. If I add the upgrades, it could cost as much as
another $ 50...............but that's still not bad for a deluxe model. I checked them out on internet and even on Ebay. Deluxe models start around
$ 200. for the cheaper ones, and go up to $$$$$. You can get the parts I bought at Co-op on internet too, but they are more expensive, plus shipping. My local farm store was much more reasonable, plus they were helpful on instructing me how to install them. Also, if I can't make it work, they are real nice to help me tweak it until it does. Since they sold me the parts. LOL



Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

very good indeed!

i recall a friend of mine had a contraption, and she didn't get a good hatch [it was her first tiem] because there wasn't enough humidity.

would you mind my asking what eggs you have in it, and what day you started them???

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

So far I have 2 eggs from my Buff Orp., one from my little White Brahma
Bantum, one from my little Old English Bantam, and one from a little black Bantam (don't know her breed) total 3 banties, 2 large.

I hope I have enough humidity. I think I do though. There's a trough in the bottom of the incubator that holds water all the time, and I added a sponge
that I keep wet also, just to be sure. When I open it to turn eggs, it feels fairly humid in there, although not like a sauna. If I don't do well with this, I'm going to add the dual thermometer with the humidity probe. Hopefully I won't have to, it's another $ 20. , but we'll see. I'll keep ya posted.

I've started several groups. Some I started Tuesday, candled them yesterday and "nobody was home" so I cracked them open, and sure enough they weren't fertile. So I started a new group yesterday. I'll be able to candle them in a couple days to see if anything is happening.
Hopefully ole Rudy Rooster is earning his keep. Although I haven't noticed him making his rounds lately. I guess we'll see.
If none of these are fertile, I have a lady that will sell me some of hers for $ 2.00 a dozen. They're just mixed barnyard breed, but that's ok. She will hold them out of the fridge for me and give me ones that she collects that day. Evidently whatever they are, they must lay good if she sells eggs :) Her eggs are all brown.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

so what breed is Rudy?

i read that the eggs are likely to be fertile if he has done his duty in the last thirty days!

do me a favor. save some eggs to start this Sunday, or on Feb 7th if you prefer. i want to see for myself if starting them to hatch at certain times improves the hatch rate and helps them to hatch closer to the same time, etc.

i am just a curious little bee LOL

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Rudy is an Old English bantam. He's a cute little fellow that thinks he's the biggest baddest dude in the barnyard........................and he is, since he's the only one. LOL Pretty easy to be a big fish in a small pond.

I 'll try to start a new batch on Sunday. I think I'm going tomorrow to get some from the lady I mentioned that has eggs for sale. She says that she thinks they should be fertile, as she has several roosters.

Seems like the fellow at the Co-op said that all the eggs a hen lays for about a month or so will be fertile if she's been bred also.l I was really surprised when I cracked open that first batch and they weren't fertile.
Maybe they were, and it was just me. But from everything I've studied on the net, I felt pretty sure what to look for. I don't think it's the incubator, because it's remaining a constant temperature of 99.4 to 100.6 which is ideal. I may have a few false starts at first, but I'm determined to get this thing figured out..........sooner or later.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

oh, you will! i think it's pretty egg-citing myself...

tf

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Wow.............a neighbor gave me 4 Sumatra eggs to hatch. Their son who is 13, raises the fancy ornamental chickens for show. They gave me some of the fertile eggs to hatch in my incubator. I'm so excited. I had to look up the Sumatra breed and figure out what they were since I was not familiar with them. I hope they hatch. I'm being very careful to turn them and watch the temp and humidity. I can hardly wait. They should hatch Feb. 20th....................we'll see.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

yipee!

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Hmmmm. I've candled the Sumatra eggs and can't see anything that looks favorable. I'll give them a few more days and see.
I have 3 of my own chickens eggs in the incubator too, and two of them look like they have the little blood veins running from a tiny embryo. I put them all in at the same time, so they all should be coming along alike. From what I can tell, the ones that have no veins showing look like the pictures of all the un-fertilized ones I see on candleing web sites that show what to look for. I guess I'll wait and see. However, I am excited about the two that look like embryos. I hope they make it.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

yippeeeeeee!!!

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Things are moving along well with the two that look fertile. Still nothing in the Sumatra eggs.
I went out and bought the digital thermometer with the humidity probe on it today. I want to be sure the humidity is good. I'd hate to come this far with these little fellows and then have them not make it because the humidity was wrong.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

Hey, i found out Buckeye chickens can't be sexed. So i have to order 100. Want to split the order? i should probably start a new thread for that, huh? Funny, i don't htink anyone is close enough... but it is worth asking. Lots of folks drive through AMarillo...

tf

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

I've never heard of Buckeyes. I'd like to know more about them ? Are they rare ?

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

They are on the critical list. i am about to go look at the other thread to see if they mention them there. They are the only breed solely developed by a woman, and in the late 1800s! They were accepted into the AMerican Standard of Perfection in 1904, or 06. But they faded out. She originally called them Pea Comb Rhode Island Reds, simply to help them become popular, but when she showed them in Cleveland, she called them Buckeye's, and that's what she stuck with then. The chicks are sooo cute. Can't wait to get them [what am i gonna do with 100 baby chicks in the Dining Room? LOL]

http://albc-usa.org/buckeye.htm

tf

n/a, Norfolk Island

I have incubated eggs in commercially made incubators b4 and I am in the research phase of building my own incubator. I have had one bad experience recently with my little lab incubator to see if it would work (hence the decision to make my own to my specs.) and whilst it appeared to work well it failed due to a lack of accurate temperature monitoring and lack of any humidity monitoring (like you I was relying on guess work - didn't work). The failure was put down to two main things.

The first was an inability to control humidity. In the past I have maintained humidity at 50-60% for the first 18 days and higher, to 75%, in the last three days. I live in a very humid climate and without proper humidity control my ambient humidity was getting up to 70-80% within the first 18 days.

The second thing was inaccurate temperature monitoring. The little lab incubator was very stable and the thermostat is very accurate with very little variance in temperature, BUT, it is located at the top of the incubator some distance away from the eggs. This meant the temperature down where the eggs were was considerably lower than the 37 degrees celcius that is required.

What happened as a result was that the chicks were slow to develop and failed to pip at 21 days and the high humidity prevented them from absorbing their ylk sacs fully so when they hatched they still had extended yolks sacs, and died as a result.

I have attempted to fix this buy buying a digital thermometer with a hygrometer built into it. Cost me about $20 over here and it measures the relative humidity and the max/min temperature.

I have placed this device down at egg level and have adjusted the thermostat to make IT read 37 degrees celcius instead of the top thermometer, which now reads about 40 degrees. Almost ready for another trial run. Am running a few more tests before starting.

When you candle them you should see an air cell in the big end of the egg. The babies break into that air cell first for their first breath of fresh air. To enable this to happen the air cell must be sufficiently large to allow the chick to get it's head into it. All up the egg needs to lose approx. 18% of it's mass by the end of the incubation period and it can't do this if the humidity is too high. The chicks can drown inside the egg while trying to pip as a result.

My next trial with this lab incubator will occur when my new digital scales arrive so I can weigh the eggs when I candle them (which I do every day from about day 6 to day 18) to ensure they are losing mass at the appropriate rate.

Just thought I'd pass on these thoughts to help you out and maybe prepare you for a less than expected hatching rate. On the other hand it may be just fine.

Your buff orp girls should go broody though - nothing beats a chook Mum...

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

wow, that is all VERY interesting! my Buckeye's are good at raising their own too. i am having them hatched under a good moon sign, which should improve on that too! i already have some cages set aside to use for the broody hens and chicks [though it will be NEXT year]. my guineas haven't laid yet, and they are lacking a male, but by next year hopefully they will be trained to lay INDOORS, and we can have our own lavendar guineas!!!

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Simon, thank you for all the great info. Those are very important things to take into consideration in order to have a successful hatch.
May I ask what type incubator you used and had poor results ? I looked at several kinds before making the decision to make one. There was one kind that the man at the Co-op told me they didn't carry anymore because it didn't work and they had so many returned for refund. I've seen that particular one on ebay. They said the main problem was the humidity factor. Just wondering if it could have been the same one.

n/a, Norfolk Island

Long story...

I moved from Australia to Norfolk Island last year and as such left a lot of my stuff there. I work as a High School Science Teacher here and so have a laboratory incubator in my lab. It is meant to incubate bacteria cultures instead of eggs but with a little tweaking I am sure I can get it to do both. There are no commercially manufactured incubators here and freight is a killer adding up to 100% in some cases, so I decided to make my own whilst I am here, and design it in such a way that it can be flat-packed at the end of my contract to bring back home with me in my freight container.

My trouble came about when I started 'guessing' the humidity and trusting the built-in thermomenter to give me an accurate reading of the temperature in the whole incubator instead of as just at the top as it does. Guessing humidity here is asking for trouble because being a subtropical island ambient humidity can get as high as 98% - felt like 900% today (but that's just cos I'm sick with the flu as well and so am drifting in and out of a fever lol). Over the past week I have been able to stabilise the humidity at about 56%. With the digital thermometer placed where the top of the egg is I have been able to calibrate the incubator's thermometer so that it reads 2 degrees higher than the 37 degrees C that I need. I've be doing a test run when my scales arrive to weigh the eggs at the start and then every day to chart their progress to see if I've got it right.

Having said all that I have two broody bantams atm that are sitting on my non-broody egg bird's eggs so maybe I won't even need to start...

n/a, Norfolk Island

One extra thing to keep in mind is that these digital thermometers/hygrometers are not all they are cracked up to be and require testing before being used. The thermometers are generally pretty good, but the hygrometers can be out by as much as 10%. When/if I make my bator I'll be putting in an analog wet/dry bulb hygrometer instead as they are far more reliable.

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Oh, I'm so excited. I went to turn the eggs for the last time while ago and the two that have been progressing were ROCKING. At first I couldn't believe it. I thought I had just bumped the incubator or something. But as I watched them, they really were moving. This is the last time I'm supposed to turn them before they move into position in preparation for hatching. I'm supposed to stop turning them 4 days before due date, and that would be today. I'm watching the humidity very closely and elevating it a little each day between now and then. Everything looks good so far, but I know it can all change during the hatching process. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

holy smokes!

which ones are these?

i am so excited for you!!! be warned, i hear hatching your own eggs is very addicting LOL

tf

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

These are from my chickens. A cross between my little Old English rooster and a little fuzzy black hen. (don't know her breed, as she was given to me)
She's got kind of a black fuzzy tuft around her face and on top of her head behind her comb. ????? She's not as small as my other bantys but not as big as my Buff Orpington. "Kind of like a box of chocolates, never know what you're gonna get" LOL I know that if they make it, they will be a mix, but I don't care. It's so fun just watching this whole process.
Checked them while ago, and they're still doing the Jello Wiggle. :o)
Caught myself smiling just now while I was typing about it. hehe. FUN

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

I've got 4 more that I set into incubator on Feb. 11th. I started out with 7 but when I candled them, only these 4 showed signs of fertility. The other three, I took out and cracked them open to examine contents. OOps !
One of them WAS actually fertile and I could see it's little heart beating. I felt so bad. The other 2 were not fertile. They were from my other little banty hen. I guess my little rooster has his favorites...........and for now it's the little black fuzzy hen. She has the largest comb, and I read that the roosters like the hens with the biggest comb best. Hmmmm.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

ROFL, fickle love...

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

I bought 12 Buff Brahama Bantam eggs on ebay today to put in my incubator. I have one little white brahama banty that I think is pretty, and I like the buff colors so I think I'll give it a try. Hopefully they can wait to ship them until our weather breaks. It was 9 degrees here today. Too cold to ship eggs I think. I don't expect all 12 to hatch, but if even a few do, I'll think it's great.
My 2 little eggs that are in incubator are still wiggling. They are due to hatch Monday or Tuesday. Getting closer. Anxious to see how it goes.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

Oh, i absolutely ADORE buff colors!!!

This is sooooo EGG-xiting ;-)

i got up to 24 today, we're having a heat wave!!! 14 tonight. i should get my chicks on the 21st [of March], i am getting pretty anxious too...

i didn't know you could get eggs on ebay, but i guess eggs can be "it" LOL. have you ever been to www.eggbid.com or www.chixbid.com ?

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

I've been to eggbid.com, but didn't know about chixbid.com. I'll have to check it out.
If you go to ebay, just type in "hatching eggs" and there ate lots. All different kinds......... and cheaper than the hatcheries sell them for. Lots of rare breeds. I got mine for $4.99 plus $10.00 shipping. Couldn't get them from hatcheries for that price. Don't know if they will hatch, but for less than $15.00, it's worth a try.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

cool.... i checked out chixbid, and it looks like that is hwere i'll get my brown leghorns. i decided with the buckeyes being stright run only, i had better get some leghorns pullets as well, just in case!

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

good idea.

I just checked on my eggs, and one is about to peck a hole in the shell.
There's a tiny little crack shaped like a T. I picked it up and put it to my ear and I could hear him CHIRP ! !!!!! It's been like that most of the day today, it's a slow process. He'll probably hatch while I'm asleep tonite and I'll miss it. lol

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

oh, boy. od you think it will take that long? so much for them hatching on Sudnay LOL

this is just too cool, keep us posted!

tf

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

It was almost like little kids on Christmas morning......... DH got up first and looked in the incubator. He came to wake me up so I wouldn't miss it. There was a good sized hole pecked in the shell and you could see his little beak. It took another couple hours, but he finally got out of the shell.
Within about 30 minutes, the other one was out also. He didn't take nearly as long from start to finish. They are both healthy as far as I can tell. They are so cute. One is silver, and the other is brown with a black mask around eyes.............cute.

I guess my homemade incubator works ok. :D

It's such a neat experience to watch nature unfold and a new life step out of a little egg just 21 days later. It was fun to watch it all.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

woohoo! now you are HOOOOOOKED!

thanks you for sharing, how very exciting!!! can't wait to see how they turn out...

tf

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

So far, they are still inside the incubator. They seem to like it there well enough, and they are doing a great job of turning the remaining eggs
(there are still 4) that are still incubating. The yolk sac provides enough food and fluid for them for three days, so they aren't pooping in there.
I removed all the shells and debris, so it's nice and clean and warm. They are hopping all around and finding their legs etc. In the process, they're bumping into the eggs. Saves me a little work.........hehe.
Today I will move them to a little brooder and give them food and water.
Have to put marbles in water so they won't jump in and take a swim. lol.

I'll keep ya posted on how the other 4 do. They are due to hatch first couple of days of March.

Oregon City, OR(Zone 8b)

Hi! My dad built his own incubator in the late 1970s. We hatched out several chickens, some ducklings, and a few quail. My older sister borrowed it in the mid 1990s, never returned it, and, who knows what happened to it...

I can't remember too much about the technical details, but I remember that every few hours, someone would have to flip the eggs over. The eggs were marked with an X on one side and O on the other, to help keep track when turning the eggs.

Have fun with your incubator! Good job!

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

oh, how sweet peggy!

that's neat owl!

tf

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Hi owl. Sounds like your dad must have had fun with the satisfaction of making his own too.
Mine looks terrible, held together with duct tape, but it seems to work well enough.
I talked to my grown son on phone last night and told him we hatched a couple of chicks from it. He just laughed and said......"Only YOU would do that". He just dosen't realize how many of us 'curious enthusiasts' there are around, does he ? lol

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

if only he knew that "normal" is a minority LOL

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.
BACK TO TOP