Homemade Incubator and Thermostat

Written by carrie terry
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Homemade Incubator and Thermostat
Orphaned ducklings and chicks must hatch in an incubator. (duckling image by Aleksander from Fotolia.com)

All birds go through the same stages when they're born. They enter the world as eggs, are kept warm and protected by their mothers, then hatch after a given amount of time. When the mother bird is absent, though, you need to hatch eggs artificially. Although many commercial incubators exist for this specific purpose, they can be inconvenient and expensive. Instead of buying one, build your own incubator by using some standard household items.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Styrofoam ice chest (30 to 40 gallons)
  • Lamp-building kit
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Thermostat
  • Light bulb (25 watts)
  • Hookup wire
  • Extension plug

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  1. 1

    Drill a hole in the top of one side of the ice chest, 3 inches from the top edge. This hole should be large enough to accommodate the tube from your lamp-building kit. Cut two air holes in one side, 3 inches from the bottom, and two more air holes on the other side, 3 inches from the bottom.

  2. 2

    Pick up the lamp extension tube and wiring from the lamp-building kit. Set the other elements to the side. Put the extension tube through the designated hole in the ice chest with the wiring outside the ice chest and the light bulb inside. Screw the light bulb into the designated opening.

  3. 3

    Run one of the lamp's wires to the extension plug and attach it per the directions that come with the lamp-building kit. Run the other wire to the thermostat. Attach it the same way. Run the thermostat's wire to the extension plug and attach it. Secure the thermostat to the inside wall near the bottom of the ice chest.

  4. 4

    Plug the extension into the wall and turn on the lamp to make sure you've wired it correctly. Your thermostat will now control the lamp's power to maintain the temperature inside your homemade incubator.

Tips and warnings

  • Different birds require different temperatures. Research the specific eggs you're hatching to determine the requirements.
  • Different birds take different lengths of time to hatch. For instance, chicks take 21 days, while ducks take 28 and quail take 23.

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