If you are planning to hatch your own chicken eggs, you don't need to spend a lot of money on a store-bought egg incubator. With just a few household items, you can create a nice, climate-controlled, cosy environment where your eggs will thrive and hatch into chicks.
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Things you need
- Fish aquarium
- Styrofoam insulation
- Small cup or bowl with water
- Heating lamp or bulb
- Extension cord
Find and clean a medium-size fish aquarium.
Measure the sides and ends of the aquarium, and write down your measurements on a piece of paper.
Find an old styrofoam ice chest, or purchase styrofoam insulation blocks from the hardware store.
Use a pen to mark out the exact measurements of the fish tank onto the styrofoam.
Cut the styrofoam into the shapes of the sides of the aquarium using a sharp blade.
Tape the styrofoam pieces to all four sides of the aquarium using duct tape.
Place a bunched piece of soft fabric into the bottom of the aquarium. This will help pad the eggs.
Place a hydrometer in the tank near where the eggs will be. Loop the wire over the side of the tank, and secure it with duct tape.
Place a small bowl of water inside the bottom of the tank, and measure the humidity levels after 15 minutes. Add water as necessary until the tank has about 40 per cent humidity.
Install a thermometer at the bottom of the tank and close to where the eggs will be.
Install a heating source into the tank, and check the temperature periodically until it has reached 38.9 degrees C. You may purchase an aquarium heater, or use a bare light bulb with tin foil around it and a clip-on fan to circulate the heat.
Place the eggs onto the fabric inside the tank, and cover the tank loosely with aluminium foil.
Tips and warnings
- Turn the eggs at least four times a day to ensure even incubation. Use cling film instead of foil on the top of the tank if you find that the moisture levels are inadequate (less than 40 per cent). If you are in a dry climate, you can pour water directly into the bottom of the tank, and place the eggs on a slightly damp cloth over a wire mesh pad that covers the entire bottom of the tank.
- Monitor the humidity levels inside the incubator. If the humidity drops below 40 per cent, you must add water or further insulate the tank to keep the moisture inside. Check to be sure all electrical wires are properly insulated.
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