materials for assembling an incubator

What are the essential components you’ll need to build your own incubator?

Every incubator needs these basic components: A container, heating source, humidity source, and temperature control.

Container

You decide on the container size depending on the number of eggs you want to hatch at a go.   Determine how many eggs you want to incubate and then decide on the container.  Note the bigger the container, the more the heating required hence the cost of the DIY kit.

The more insulation it has, the less energy it will require to keep it at the correct temperature.  You don’t want something that will be drafty, but you do need some way for fresh air to come into the container.  The developing embryos need oxygen just like you and I do.  The shell is porous and allows carbon dioxide to leave and oxygen to enter.  A viewing window is handy for observing the eggs, especially while they hatch.

Heater

The inside of the container needs to be heated to 37.5 degrees celsius. therefore the size of the container, the amount of insulation it has, and the room temperature will all impact the size of your heater.

Thermostat

For eggs to hatch, they need to be maintained at a given temperature for the period of the incubation. The heater drives the heat upwards. The thermostat detects when the temperature gets too high or too low and stops or starts the heater accordingly.

Humidity control

Managing humidity in your incubator is a matter of keeping the appropriate amount of water surface area.  As a general rule, the more water surface area, the higher the humidity will be in your incubator.  You can use a container to hold water and refill it as needed.  Many people find that putting a sponge in the water with part of the sponge above the water level will increase the humidity level.  This is particularly helpful during the lock-down period the last 2-3 days of your hatch.

Others good to have items

These items are good to have but not absolutely necessary.

Thermometer and hygrometer

A thermometer will measure the temperature and allow you to adjust the thermostat accordingly.  A hygrometer will measure the relative humidity. There are analog devices and digital types as well.  All measurement devices will have some variability, so testing and calibrating your device is always a good idea.

Egg Turner

The egg turner will rotate the eggs gently back and forth to keep the yolk sack from sticking to the shell and providing needed exercise for the developing embryo.  This can also be done by hand if you prefer not to spend money on an automatic egg turner.

Candler

An egg candler is a modified light that allows you to make the egg glow enough to see if the egg is developing.  With a good candler, you can see the baby bird moving and how the air sack is developing.  If the egg is not developing, you can remove it to make room for good eggs.

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