This article will show you how to make a simple incubator by redirection you to a number of sites where you can see and get ideas from what other people have made. Leave your comments or suggestions of questions if you have any. Thank you
An egg incubator is a machine that provides the right conditions for hatching eggs. Then major conditions to control are temperature, humidity and ventilation. If these conditions are properly controlled you can hatch healthy chicks with your incubator. It could be chicken, duck, quail, turkey, etc.
Materials you will need to make an incubator
- Temperature controller
- Humidity controller or indicator
- Fan(s) for air circulation
- Air heater
- Insulated body or container (like used fridge)
- Egg turner motor with automatic timer system
- Fertile eggs
It is very important to control the temperature of your incubator and also keep it fairly stable just like the mother bird would keep her eggs warm. Generally, the required temperature for incubating almost all bird eggs is between 37.5 to 37.8 degrees Celsius (99.5 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit).Slight variations around this temperature range is acceptable, but varying more than a degree up or down for long periods of time can have negative effects on your eggs: poor hatch rate, birth defects and even causing the eggs not to hatch. A few of the exceptions to this temperature range would be for Emu and Ostrich eggs. Emu eggs require 95.5 to 96.5 degrees F (35.3 – 35.8 degrees C) and Ostrich eggs require 97.0 to 98.0 degrees F (36.1 – 36.6 degrees C) Many farmers try to control their incubator temperature manually by turning the heater off or on depending on the temperature but this method is difficult and not effective.However there are “cheap” and very effective temperature control devices that you can use to control the temperature automatically.CLICK here to see various temperature controllers and how they work
Humidity control is important in the egg incubation process. Humidity is simply the magnitude of air moisture in your incubator or the wetness of the air. For a simple incubator, you can put a bowl or plate of water inside the incubator. The container of water should be positioned so that air from the fan blows over the water surface. Maintain a humidity of 40 to 60 percent for the first days but increase the humidity to between 75 and 85 percent in the final 3 days before hatching.
Chicken eggs take 21 days to hatch
Quail eggs take 18 days to hatch
Turkey eggs takes 28 days to hatch
How many days does eggs take to hatch? Click here
If you want to reduce your humidity, simply reduce the surface of your bowl of water so that little water is exposed. If you want to increase your humidity, increase the surface area of you water by putting sponge or foam in the bowl of water. Make sure part of the foam or sponge is above the water surface.High humidity in the last 3 days is necessary because it helps the chick to easily break out of the egg shell without the shell sticking on the chick; that would be painful.
Your heater is supposed to provide enough heat for your incubator. What can you use as heater for your incubator? Onion light bulb, halogen lamp, ceramic heater, car light bulb (for very small incubators), heater found in rice cooler, heater coils etc.Check the power rating of your heater before use. Higher wattage means more heat.CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT THE CORRECT HEATER TO USE
The fan is a very important component in your incubator especially for bigger incubators. The fan is supposed to circulate and uniformly distribute the heat in the incubator. If the fan is absent, your heat would be too high at some parts of the incubator and this is bad. Some people use this fan
Insulated body/ box
The box you use for you incubator should be well insulated to retain the heat for a long time. You can use Styrofoam box, fridge or freezer compartment, wooden box etc. You can use silicon sealant to seal all holes and corners of your box.
It is helpful to create small holes, two or four, on your incubator box for ventilation. Research shows that the egg embryo breathes through the pores of the egg shell. It is therefore necessary to provide some ventilation so that the embryo does not die.
Not all eggs can hatch. Those that can hatch are called fertile eggs. No matter how good your incubator may be; if you put non-fertile eggs in it they will never hatch.It is good to use egg candler to monitor the growth of the egg embryos. In the first 10 days you can candle you eggs and identify the eggs that cannot hatch (quitters). The good eggs are identified by blood veins (red lines in the egg). Quitters are all dark inside. CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW TO CANDLE EGGS
Egg turner motor with automatic timer system
Turn your eggs often, at least three to four times a day. If your incubator is automatic, set it to turn once every 2 hours. Turning prevents the shell from getting stuck to the chick when hatching. This is where you tilt the egg at least 45 degree angle.CLICK TO SEE AUTOMATIC TURNING SYSTEMOne correct way to position your eggs is to put the pointed part downwards