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 Post subject: GreenAus' Home-made Incubator
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:59 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:23 pm
Posts: 3607
Location: About mid-way between Ipswich and Toowoomba
PEACOCKSAUSTRALIA wrote:
Would it be possible for you to start a new topic with your step by step including Photos? Sure Members would find it very interesting & helpful.


PEACOCKSAUSTRALIA wrote:
Hi Greenaus, You can start a Topic in this Forum "Incubation & Chick Rearing" and place the Photos within your Post.


Well, now that I know it works (albeit only 33% success first time round), I guess I'll post details of my home-made incubator.

Please note that even though there are several pictures in this post, your browser is only loading three as two are repeated a few times to save scrolling back and forth.

First of all...what does it consist of.
1 x styrofoam box (mine is an ex-Chrisco freezer hamper box)
2 x old lamps
2 x 25w light bulbs (or 2 x 40w, or 1 x 40w & 1 x 25w, or whatever)
2 x panes of glass from photo frames (I used 2 x 10" x 8")
1 x old computer fan
1 x 12v DC transformer
1 x Micro Computer Temperature Controller (most expensive component)
1 x Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer Hygrometer (next most expensive)
2 x small storage baskets
Rice (you'll see if I update the pictures)
About 100cm of 16 x 70mm board.
A 20 x 30cm square of mouse/snake mesh
A dish or two for water
Sponges during hatching to increase humidity

Now, for what it looks like.

Image

A. Styrofoam box. Mine is 26in x 17.5in (outside measurements)

I cut a hole in it for the two pieces of photo frame glass.

B. Micro Computer Temperature Controller (Thermostat)

This cost me $68 delivered off eBay. It works as follows.
The unit is connected to the mains power. The unit has two power sockets on it. One is for the timer option (ignore that unless you want something on and off at a specific time). The other is where you plug your power cords for your light bulbs. The unit is connected to the little display you see on top of the incubator. From that is a cord which leads to the sensor probe that sits with the eggs. It sends the temperature to the display. Based on your settings, the display unit tells the controller to send power power, or deny power.

Image

Image

C. I bought two photo frames from a cheapy shop. They were 10 x 8in. I disassembled each and only used the glass and ONE plastic surround (frame). I placed one bit of glass where it normally goes and the other where the backing board normally goes. The panes of glass are maybe 1mm apart. I figure this is like double glazing and has the effect of letting out less heat. The outer glass doesn't feel particularly warm, so I reckon I'm right. I cut a slightly small hole in the styrofoam box and pushed it into place, then used duct tape to be sure it stayed and keep curious children from just pushing it in.

D. The fish shaped bath thermometer is optional. :-D

E. Mid way through the first batch I made a 20cm x 30cm basket using 16mm x 70mm board and a piece of mouse/snake mesh. It didn't work out quite as expected and is now upturned and forms a stage upon which the two egg baskets now sit. With a few holes in it, it allows airflow which might help with warmth underneath.

Image

F. I bought two little, plastic storage baskets. I used a little bit of tape around the base and then as weird as it may seem to some, warmed some rice (uncooked) in the microwave and placed a good layer of that in the bottom of the baskets as beds for the eggs.

Image

G. I acquired two lamps so I could use the bulb holders and cords (everything but the ceramic bases). I unscrewed the base, disconnected the wires, pushed the threaded rod through the styrofoam, reconnected the wires and screwed the base back together. Note: Ensure everything is in place and in order before reconnecting the wires. You don't want to have to redo it because you forgot to put the base where it was supposed to be. If I haven't made myself clear, you'll know what I mean if you forget.

I originally used 2 x 40w bulbs, but replaced those with 2 x 25w the second day. However, upon taking the inside photo, I noticed one bulb had blown. I have now replaced that with a 40w.

Note: Why use two bulbs? I think the blown bulb just answered that.

Image

H. Bottles of water as heat sinks. If I didn't have a second batch already in the incubator when the chicks finished hatching last week, I'd have put in MORE of these.

I. From eBay for $21.99 delivered, I bought a Digital Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer/Hygrometer. I have it sitting in the incubator with where I think the sensors are sitting at about the height of the eggs. In case humidity is different at different heights (hardly noticeable I'd reckon). I have the outdoor temperature sensor sitting in with the eggs. It is always different to the thermostat probe reading. I don't know why and while I do care, I don't think it matters now.

The probe is metal whereas the probe for the thermostat has a plastic sleeve. Something I ought to do and you might want to do is cover the metal probe with nail polish or something to keep it from rusting in the humid environment.

Image

J. I had two goes at computer fans and 12v transformers. I blew the first fan with too much power. The second transformer says 800mA and the fan has been working for over four weeks now.

I'm not prepared to offer advice on best placement of the fan.

K. Something to put water in. I changed to this one towards hatch time as it is too high for the chicks to climb into.
Also, at hatch time I added more containers and a couple of sponges to increase humidity but not provide somewhere to drown.

Image

L. With this current batch I am trialling turning them by alternating the tilt of the basket. It is sitting on a board.

M. Beside the letter "M" is a small egg, probably from one of the dumped chooks I got from the Gold Coast. No other chooks in the pen are white egg layers. It is in there along with three store-bought eggs to fill the basket so the eggs don't move too much when tilted. If it hatches, it will be a "small" bonus.

N. Oh...there is no "N". So, "N" is for "No N"


Last edited by greenaus on Fri Mar 14, 2008 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 3:16 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2007 12:33 pm
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Location: North Maclean 1/2 between Brisbane and Beaudesert
genius greenaus, even I could manage that now I reckon. Thank you as the info is so handy and useful. You have done an excellent job. :-D

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Slave to 3 dogs, 4 horses, 1 foal, and of course, hubby. Keeper of Light Sussex, Cuckoo pekins, Lavender pekins, multicoloured pekins and silkies and now at long last Gold Partridge Brahmas


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 3:48 pm 
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Location: About mid-way between Ipswich and Toowoomba
County Lodge wrote:
genius greenaus, even I could manage that now I reckon. Thank you as the info is so handy and useful. You have done an excellent job. :-D


Thanks.

I hope to get a better hatch rate this time round with the 15 eggs I put in two days ago. These should have less temperature variation as with the incubator open for shorter periods, temperature variations will be minimised. As for the other six eggs that are in there, they candled fine last night, but with such high humidity during the hatching (and waiting to hatch) of the first batch, they might fail at hatch time.

Also, this may be the last time I use this one for incubating. I have a bar fridge downstairs waiting to be turned into an incubator. I may use the styrofoam one for hatching then.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:25 pm 
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Location: Hunter Valley
I like the viewing window and sign ;)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 8:00 pm 
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Location: Hunter Valley/Port Stephens, NSW
Just brilliant, greenaus! How clever are you?!! :-D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 1:59 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:23 pm
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Location: About mid-way between Ipswich and Toowoomba
Peter16 wrote:
I like the viewing window and sign ;)


Oh. The sign is optional, too.

Actually, I think it makes the incubator more likely to succeed. Better include it anyway.


debbieo4914 wrote:
Just brilliant, greenaus! How clever are you?!! :-D


Not clever enough to be everywhere at once.

Rather than tell the whole story, I'll summarise.

3 year old son messed with 10 week old buff sussex. 10 week old buff sussex dead. Me not happy. [smilie=madflame.gif]

It was the one that two older hens had been picking on a few days ago. I had separated it for its protection. So much for that.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 8:59 am 
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Location: Hunter Valley/Port Stephens, NSW
Good summary, get the picture, poor sussex. :(

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Breeder of pekin bantams.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 6:39 pm 
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Location: Gold Coast, QLD
Eggcellent topic Charles [smilie=rlp_smilie_242.gif]

Hubbys just had a look and thinks he can have a good go at building me one now instead of buying it.

Look out all you eggsellers [smilie=vibes.gif]

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:27 pm 
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Excellent Greenaus & Thank you for sharing, it's what Poultry keeping is all about.




Thanks
P.A :lol: :lol:


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 Post subject: hatch
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:52 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 10:58 am
Posts: 267
Great home made incubator - I'm very impressed.
I think your next hatch will be better. Don't worry too much about the high humidity. I set eggs each Friday and lift up the humidity every week for that week's hatch. Doesn't make any difference.

Good luck.


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