Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chicken incubator - homemade

The story began last year when by mistake i saw one video on youtube with one homemade incubator and it was interesting and i started to watch more videos regarding this subject.
After a day or two on youtube i began reading about incubators and the conditions needed to incubate eggs. While i was watching those videos i was paying attention to what kind of materials were  used and at the design of the incubators.
I realized that i had almost all the parts already at home so... in one day i've started working at my homemade version.

The first thing that i've done was to make a wooden box and put some hinges so the lid will be a door - this is the basic construction of my incubator :)
When i saw those videos on youtube i realized that for some of them you can't see the egg or eggs so for my version i cut a square in the panel that i used to make the door. I wish that i had a router back then but i did not and i used an angle grinder and chisel to make the window frame. For the window i used plexyglass and used some brads to fix it on the frame and after that i used silicone to seal it good.

The interesting part is inside the incubator:
Inside i have 2 light bulbs and 2 computer fans (120mm fans) and on the left side of the box i have something, you can say that is a shelf, and on it i have one water tray.
Because this project was trial on error i used simple methods to control the temp and humidity inside the incubator. So for the lights i had used a light dimmer to control the lights - to control the heat inside the incubator basicly and i used one 9V transformer for the fans (each fan is 12V so they don't run at full speed).
And to have readings from inside the incubator i use one unit that can read temperature, humidity, even has a clock and date ;)). I have put that unit near the eggs so i can have a better reading or a better value of temp / humidity at the eggs level.

That is my homemade version of an incubator, now let me tell you about some features:
- i can control temp and humidity.
- i can turn the eggs without opening the door. The tray that is holding the eggs has one hole and in that hole i connected a rod that can be pulled or pushed from outside the box. With this method i don't open the door to often - so the eggs will be at the same temp and humidity all the time.

For chicken eggs if you want to incubate them you will need this conditions for good results:
 - temp 37,8-38,2 degrees C
 - humidity 70-80%
 - turn the eggs 3-4 times / day. this process is done until the 18th day when you stop turning the eggs and you start spraying them with water 3-4 times / day because it will be easier for the chicks to hatch.
One other thing that i've done was to draw on the eggs X and O to see how the eggs are turning.

You have to check the eggs before placing them in the incubator and the method is realy easy:
you will need a dark room and a small flashlight or the led flash from your phone to see if the eggs are good or not. So you will take the egg and put the light on the shell (the flashlight or led flash light from your phone will touch the shell) and inside the egg if you are seeing an embryo (looks like a coin) than the egg is good for incubating.
This process will be done again in the 7th day of the incubating period. But in that day something will be different - because the chicken is growing and the embryo will have thin blood vessels but some eggs are slower and you shouldn't remove the ones that don't have this - blood vessels.
And in the 17th day you will repeat this process again but this time you will remove the eggs that don't have chicks inside. (they will look clear inside)

The period of incubation can take 21-24 days so if your chicks don't hatch on the 21st day don't remove them from the incubator leave them for 2-3 days inside.

Free plans are available for homemade chicken incubator here

Thank you for attention.


  1. I find this blog quite amusing! The tips and the ideas shared here regarding how to make an incubator are simply helpful not only to me but also to many people out there who love making an incubator for a living.

  2. I haven't build that incubator for a living... or a way to get money i'm not selling incubators or chicks i've made it to prove myself that i can do it. For this year i had other plans with that incubator but i haven't made those changes: i have made a circuit board for temperature readings, turning the eggs by controlling a stepper motor using a microcontroller...
    Sometimes the simplest ideas works the best ;)

    1. Hey Thanks Mihai, Can you please explain a bit more about rotating eggs without opening the door.

    2. Hey :)
      the tray where the eggs are put is on wheels and it is smaller than the box of the incubator. In the last photos you can see one wire on the side and with that wire i can push/pull the tray and the eggs are turned (i can check what eggs are turning because the eggs have X and O written on them). This is the simple solution but for this solution you will have to turn the eggs.
      If you want an automatic system you can use one stepper motor and a controller (timer) and on that motor you will have a simple mechanism to change the direction of the movement from rotation to a liniar movement. With this solution you will have to spray warm water on the eggs near the finish of the incubation period.

  3. Replies
    1. this year it was around 65-70% - but the reason for this was i've mixed the eggs the ones that i've got from my aunt with some eggs from a neighbor... the ones from my neighbor wasn't so good... i think i had 2 chicks from those eggs.

  4. good day! i just want to ask if you have put a thermostat. If i have not mistaken, the lights doesn't turn off? thank you!

    1. Hello,
      No i haven't put thermostat in this one - the lights are on all the time, with the dimmer i can control the temp. inside.
      Good day.

  5. I have some fertilized eggs which I would like see hatch. Can the egg tray be the same as the one used in the shop and how is a bed of cotton wool likely to affect the temperature?

    1. Hello,
      You can use the tray from the shop... when i made this incubator i made it from scrap ...i don't know if it will affect the temps inside the incubator
      I'm planning another incubator and for that one i'll use thermostat, automatic egg turner, etc.... i'll start working on it this weekend - i'll post the progress :)