44 comments - What do you think?
December 19, 2010 at 3:40 pm
chicken, computer, diy, egg, fan, farm, garden, green, hen, how to, incubator, london1817, solar, system, thermostat, urban, water heater, wire, wiring
Hats off… Very Very interesting stuf to do.
A couple of doubts .. Please clarify..
-How to Control the humidity in this setup.
-How often the rolling / turning of eggs is required ?
Check out the comments on youtube for this video. There is a lot more info about the turning and humidity set up. (Turning at lease twice per day and humidity- water bowl in bottom with sponge in it.)
There are a lot of fun things to do out there but buying a chicken incubator is so much fun. I can’t believe how much fun you can have especially for children. They love looking at the eggs and when they hatch they are so excited.
I have gotten the incubator made and now I’m testing it out to see if the temperature holds and if the water heater thermostat cuts on and off at the right time. How many eggs is a safe number for that incubator? How do I get the humidity to rise? and How many air holes should it have? What kind of chickens do you suggest hatching?
Remember that you may have to cover the air holes with a piece of tape to control temperature- so don’t make the holes too big. Be sure each egg has good air flow around it- so you really don’t want them all in a row touching. Humidity- add a small bowl of water to bottom of incubator. if the humidity isn’t high enough put a piece of new kitchen sponge in the bowl. that will help. Bantam chicks are another good choice- they are small.
It’s Taylor from last year. I’m sorry this comment is so late. The incubator is almost complete after 2 quarters in school at “Science Lab”.. I have a 23″ by 13″ and 15 inches high cooler with everything in it. How many chickens would you recommend we can safely hatch in there? And what kind of chickens do you suggest, Thanks so much.
You want to be sure there is air flow around the eggs- so don’t pack the eggs in tight. Great job on getting it finished. Lately we have been a big fan of Red Star chickens. You can tell the roosters from the hens when they hatch. If you would prefer a pet type chicken then Silkie Chickens are a good choice. Keep me updated.
My school received eggs shipped FEDEX on 4/26 and I feel pressured to finish the incubator so I can get them out of the package. Do I really need a thermostat? Also, I have a large styrofoam cooler with a 25 watt bulb. The temp does not go below 106 even if I punch holes in the cooler. If I put in a fan, will the circulation bring down the heat? Should I use a lower wattage light bulb (15 or 20)? I can’t locate a computer fan, so can I just use a small fan, the kind that you clip on?
Yes you can use a small fan if you have room in your incubator. You really do need a thermostat to cut the bulb off when it gets to 99.5 for an incubator with fan and 102 for incubator without fan.
i’m using a 40 wat bulb the cooler heats up to 100 then drops down to 87 or 88 before the light turns back on, i do not yet have a fan would a fan help any? i also have 13 holes in the cooler, i am using a styrofoam cooler, and does it matter where you mount the thermostat? Thank You!
The fan will make a big difference. With our incubator we had pieces of tape over a part of the holes- that way we had room for more adjustment. The thermostat should be near egg level because that’s the spot you need to maintain the temperature.
ok i’ll try movin the thermostat
now i have everything wired and working but it still gets to a hundred the light turns off then it goes down to 85 before it comes back on i even put a dimmer switch on the light to dim the light
The dimmer switch sounds like a great idea. Wish I had thought of that. Have you installed the fan yet? Try covering a portion of the holes in the cooler with tape. Do this a few at a time to determine how many you will need to have covered Also for a still air incubator- assuming you have not installed the fan- the temp can be as high as 102. You many consider making a small adjustment in the thermostat.
do you have to put water in it to keep the humidity up
Yes you should have a small bowl of water at the bottom. On day 19-21 you should increase the humidity by adding sponges to the bowl.
I’m trying to build this incubator with my kids and I have a couple of questions. What are the little yellow things attaching the green wires to the thermostat? I bought the wire and the thermostat, but I don’t have these. Also, I bought a lamp kit, which is the socket, some adapters and a cord. Will this cord be ok to use, or should I have the three pronged heavy duty cord? Thanks so much, you have lots of great advice on your site, going to do the worm bin next!
The yellow things are wire nuts- they cover the exposed wires and join them. The cord that came with the kit should be great. Thanks for watching the videos. Keep us updated on your progress.
Thanks for your help! We’re currently having trouble with it getting too hot even with a 25 watt bulb. The thermostat turns off at 101.5, but then the temps get down to 93 before it turns back on, and it’s doing this pretty frequently. Haven’t hooked up a fan yet because my husband thought our cooler was small enough it wouldn’t be necessary (it is a small styrofoam cooler). I think we might have to crack open the old computer and get the fan though.
A combination of the computer fan and vent holes help to maintain the temperature. You just have to find the right combination for your size cooler. Be sure to put the thermometer at the level that the egg will be. Also compare your thermometer to a mercury thermometer to verify it’s measuring correctly.
After getting it all set up we realized we wouldn’t be able to fit very many eggs, so we ripped it all apart again and bought a big cooler. Happy to say that of 48 eggs, 29 hatched, and everyone who hatched lived. Of the ones that were left, 12 had just egg inside, 7 had chicks in various stages of formation. Not sure what happened w/ those 7.
Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge!
Congrats on your new hatches. What kind of chickens did you hatch?
Well, there are a couple of pure bred Lakenvelders, but the rest are mutts. We had a Lakenvelder roo, and a Buff Orp./Araucana roo with Buff Orp, White Rock, Barred Rock, Lakenvelder, Blue Cochin, and Araucana hens.
I took a thermastat off from an electric hotwater heater. i am having trouble hooking the wires up to the light to get the light to work. My thermostat is not the same as the one that you used….how do I hook it up?
I would really need more info to help you. What does the thermostat look like? What have you tried so far?
I am having the exact same issue. I bought the same WH thermostat for $8 at home depot and wired it up. It turns off at 100 degrees but it doesn’t turn on again until it drops down to 89. I am using a 60 watt light bulb and a styrofoam cooler. Do I just need better insulation?
Have you installed the fan yet? It really helps to get the air inside the incubator circulating.
Mine fluctuates from 100-93 degrees, is that okay? I am going to try to hatch duck eggs. I have a fan and a pan of water w/ sponges to keep the humidity around 50-60%. I am using the a 60 watt light bulb with a water heater thermostat that shuts it off at 100 degrees. I also put in a small 5 watt lightbuld with seems to keep the temperature a little more constant. I put 30 vent holes (size of a pencil) on the side and 5 on the top of the styrofoam cooler. What would make the temperature more constant?
We used to keep a few pieces of scotch tape handy to cover a few of the vent holes if it was getting too cool. Dropping to 93 could be an issue. I would keep working on a steadier temp before placing the eggs. The big thing about building your own incubator is that it is going to need attention. Temperature adjustments, water amounts changed, covering vent holes, and changing the wattage of the light bulbs. It’s worth it in the end because getting to hatch your own birds is so much fun.
Hey just wanted to say thanks for all the help. Figured out the problem- it is me! I was thinking of the thermostat like in a house to keep a constant temp., but it is more like a safety for if the temp gets to high. Thanks again, Larry
This is similar to Benny’s from 12/31. Our thermostat shuts off a 101 and comes back on when it drops to 80. Will having a fan cool the thermostat faster thereby having the light come on sooner and keeping the temperature more constant (we do have water in the bottom)? Thanks. By the way great how to.
The fan helps move the air around and control the temperature. Also ventilation holes can help. What wattage bulb are you using. Also remember that its important to have some sort of window to look inside to see the temperature. Frequent opening and closing can also cause wide temperature fluctuations. Are you using a cooler for the box itself? Also what type of thermometer are you using?
Using a 75watt bulb, an old cooler for the box, will be mounting the fan shortly, and the thermometer is the type with a probe on the end of a cord. Thanks
I would change the bulb to 60 watts. Also for the thermometer with a probe- most do not do humidity. How about yours?
Thanks for getting back so soon. Will change the bulb and get a therm. with humidity reading. Have fan and vent holes as well. My biggest concern is with the thermostat. It heats up to about 99-101 then shuts off, it cools down to about 82, is this ok?
No- 82 degrees is not going to work. Is the thermometer at egg level? Also, I assume you are using a water heater thermostat?
Just checked it. Went off at 101.6 and came back on at 89 about 15-20 minutes later. If you think that will work if not I guess I’ll bypass thermostat and check temp. manually. Thanks again.
How would you attach the wire to the wire nuts?
Strip all of the wires approximately 1/4 inch and evenly push the wire nut on and twist it and pull on wires as hard as you can. If you can pull a wire out it’s not tight enough- start again. Good luck and let me know how it goes. What kind of chickens are you going to hatch?
Yes we are TRYING to build the incubator. We have everything ready and we just have to attach the light to the water heater thermostat.
WE were wondering what gauge your green wire is? And What size your wire connectors are?
Thanks so much
The Green wire is 12 gauge wire and we used yellow wire nuts. Hope this helps. Are you building an incubator?
Good video. I have built an incubator just like yours. I have everything working but mine light comes on at 90 degrees and 16 minutes lat.er it goes off @102 degrees. Too much difference in between times Anyway to help this. Thanks. Benny
It’s not really about how many minutes the light is on. It’s more about the temperature. More ways to improve temperature control is to to put vent holes in the side of the incubator, change the wattage of the light bulb, put a bowl of water with sponge in the incubator to adjust humidity which can also help with temp control. Finally adjusting your thermostat- which can take some up and down until you get it right. Thanks for watching Benny.
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