How to build an incubator for duck eggs

Written by erin ringwald
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How to build an incubator for duck eggs
A duckling. You can make your own incubator for duck eggs. (duckling image by Aleksander from

A commercial incubator is the best way to successfully hatch duck eggs, but they can be very expensive. If you want to hatch duck eggs and you do not want to invest in a commercial incubator, you can make your own at home. Making an incubator is easy and inexpensive. They can be made from everyday, household materials such as cardboard and newspaper.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 2 cardboard boxes
  • Pencil
  • Yard stick
  • Box cutter
  • Hot glue
  • Insulation
  • Mesh screen
  • Cake tin
  • Heating element
  • Tape

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  1. 1

    Insert a cardboard box inside a larger cardboard box. The smaller of the two boxes should be 16 inches wide by 20 inches long and 13 inches high. The larger box should be 18 inches by 22 inches by 12 inches---one inch shorter than the other box.

  2. 2

    Use a pencil to make a line around the smaller box 1/4 inch below the top of the other box. Make sure the line is straight. Remove the smaller box and cut along the line using a box cutter.

  3. 3

    Line the bottom of both boxes with cardboard cut from the inner box. Cut up a third box if you do not have enough excess cardboard to line both boxes.

  4. 4

    Apply hot glue to the bottom of the smaller box and centre the smaller box inside the larger box. You will have a 1-inch gap between the smaller box and the larger box.

  5. 5

    Fold over the flaps of the larger box until they rest on the edge of the corresponding walls of the inner box. Draw a straight line on the flaps marking the point of contact. Cut along the line, then cut the corners of the remaining flaps so that they line up with the top edges of the corresponding walls of the inner box.

  6. 6

    Insulate the space between the two boxes using strips of newspaper, wood shavings or styrofoam. Avoid over stuffing so that the inner box does not bulge inward.

  7. 7

    Trim mesh screen to a size large enough to cover the top of the outer box and extend 2 inches beyond each of the walls. Use 1/4-inch mesh for best results.

  8. 8

    Cut a square, 2 inches by 2 inches, from the corners. Bend the overhanging screen down along each side of the outer box so that it fits closely to the outside of the box, forming a lid.

  9. 9

    Place a small cake tin inside the small box. The tin should be 9 inches wide by 13 inches long with a depth of 1 1/2 inches. It should cover close to half of your box's bottom.

  10. 10

    Follow the directions on a commercial heating element to place it in your box.

  11. 11

    Tape the flaps of your large box down so that they seal the insulation.

  12. 12

    Place your mesh screen over the large box and follow normal incubating processes.

Tips and warnings

  • Be sure not to turn your eggs until the final 3 or 4 days of the incubation process. Once incubation is complete, transfer your eggs to a hatcher.

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