Well this year I wanted to try to hatch some eggs on my own and I did not want to pay $150+ for an incubator so I made one for myself.
I did a lot of research on incubators and found out that they need the following things to create life from a fertilized egg:
1. Heat – from 98` to about 110` depending on what type of eggs you plan on hatching
2. Moisture – usually about 80% to 95% again depending on what type of eggs you are hatching
3. Containment – something to contain the heat and moisture
4. Air Movement – Eggs breath through the pores in their eggs and chicks need a lot of fresh air circulating through the incubator.
5. Turning of Eggs – you need to either have something to turn your eggs for you or you can turn them yourself like I did
So while I was in the big city of Anchorage I picked up the following items:
A “bottle lamp kit” I guess people make lamps out of wine bottles or some kind of other large bottles and the stores sell kits to make your own lamp. Basically its the wiring and the plug in part of the lamp with the socket part unattached and you put them all together, really easy. This cost me about : 7.00
A small personal desk fan. It was in in the college section of Wal-Mart, where they have color coordinated items if you wanted all your items in your dorm room all one color. So this little fan was about 4 inches and the little blades in the fan were about 2.5 inches wide. It was wired to be plugged into a regular socket and it had a little stand that I mounted on the side of the incubator with zip ties. This cost me about 12.00
A few cheap sponges to break the water tension surface in the water containers to create moisture in the incubator. This was the cheapest item at .50 cents.
I had already had the following items in my house that I could use:
A Styrofoam cooler for the incubator. It was a left over cooler that was inside a box when I shipped myself some live fish from the pet store in Anchorage. It was the perfect size and squared off so that the inside had enough room for everything.
Small containers for water. I used little use and toss Ziploc containers for this, they were perfect.
Wood for the basket to set the eggs in.
Two little old film containers to make sure we get adequate air circulation.
Two 5×7 picture frames used the glass only for this project, for little windows to see if there was any action going on inside the incubator.
After I got all the items I began to set up my incubator. It was pretty easy considering what happens inside of it, it creates life.
I put the bottle lamp kit together and used a 40 watt bulb (I tested it out with a 70 watt and it was way too hot), I used an exacto knife to make holes for the basket to hang on and for the bulb to be inserted in. I hung the fan with zip ties and I put the two holes on opposite corners of the box for correct and sufficient air flow. I used the little film containers inside the holes in case I needed to plug one if there was too much air flow and the temperature wouldnt stay up, I could use the cover for the film container. I made a box with some mesh wire and a some craft wood, the super soft kind. I used little nails and hung it from a dowel placed on each side of the box. I cut two squares on the top of the box just a little bit smaller than the 5×7 glass and I just used masking tape to secure them on the top of the box.
After setting it up I let it run for about 3 days before I thought my eggs would come in so that the temperature and moisture level was just right for the eggs to be set.
I ordered 18 mixed Silkie eggs from eBay! Yes, EBAY! 🙂 They came in a little priority mail box and the carton they were in was wrapped in tons of bubble wrap and the eggs themselves were so carefully set in the carton with cotton batting so that they werent jostled around too much. Although the lady I ordered them from did an awesome job at packing them sufficiently to withstand jerking and possibly tearing the vein that contains the little fertilized part of the egg the postal service managed to smash one side of the box in and I lost about 4 eggs before I even started.
After the eggs came in I let them sit on the counter for a couple of days and I marked them with and “X” on one side and a “O” on the other so that I knew when I went to go rotate the eggs 4 to 6 times a day I wasnt confused as to which egg I turned or didnt turn.
I set them in the incubator and waited….. that was the worst part of the whole thing was that I had to WAIT for so long, 20 days to be exact.
Along with the Silkie eggs I added one of my little Bantam eggs from my yard since I had a rooster and two hens, just to see what would come out of it.