You are here

Construction of a still-air incubator

Small incubators, suitable for use in the home, can be purchased from stores that sell farm equipment. An egg incubator can be built at home with a little work and expense.

The first incubator is constructed from a polystyrene ice chest. It is inexpensive, and because it is insulated, is inexpensive to operate. It can be damaged easily. The eggs and chicks can be observed through a window in the lid. This incubator will hold about 40-45 eggs.

The second incubator is more expensive, but is more permanent. It is constructed of plywood and glass, and will accommodate up to 100 large eggs. Both incubators are heated by a commercially available heating cable. The heating cable can be replaced with two or three ordinary light bulbs. Get a list of organizations that sell incubator supplies and equipment from your county agent or state poultryman.

 

Sytrofoam incubatorPolystyrene Incubator

You'll need the following equipment and supplies to construct this incubator.

  • Polystyrene ice chest (12-16" x 20-24" x 12"-15")
  • Heating cable
  • Micro-switch assembly (thermostat)
  • Glass (approx. 10"x14")
  • welded wire - hardware cloth (24"x36")
  • Cake tin (9"x14"x1 1/2")
  • Thermometer
  • Masking tape

Get all equipment and supplies before starting construction. Carefully read and understand the instructions. Expect to spend about 2 hours building the incubator and 4 hours testing it. A description of the construction process, complete with illustrations, is available online.

 

Plywood incubatorPlywood Display Incubator

This incubator is more expensive and will take longer to construct than the polystyrene incubator, but it is more durable. It is built of ½-inch exterior or marine grade plywood and glass, and will accommodate up to 100 large chicken eggs. Building plans for this incubator are available online.

Bill of materials:

1 pc
5 pcs
1 pc
1 pc
1 pc
1 pc
1 pc
1/2"x4'x6' A-C Exterior Plywood
3/8"x3/4"x8' Pine
3/4"x1½"x13' Pine
3/4"x3¼"x4' Pine
1/2"x3/4"x8' Pine
1/2"x18"x27" rigid insulation board
18"x27" heavy duty aluminum foil
1 pc
4 pcs
4 pcs
2
2
2
1 pc
1/2"x30" semi-rigid plastic pipe
10"x20" single strength window glass
10"x14" single strength window glass
1½" roundwooden drawer pulls
metal drawer pulls (cup type)
2" hooks with eyes
8' felt weatherstripping 1/4"x1/2"
1 pc
2
1
1
2'
20"x27" - ¼" hardware cloth
vent covers - sheet metal
incubator electrification kit *
attachment plug
No. 18-2 flexible service cord
1
10
1 pr
1
1 pc
1 pc
duplex outlet for surface mounting
small porcelain knobs for heating element
4"x1" flat hinges
water pan - minimum 360 sq. in.
1/8"x16½' steel rod
3/16"x8' steel rod
Assorted nails and screws
Waterproof wood glue

Both incubators are heated by a commercially available glass-covered heating element. For the plywood incubator, it should provide 160 watts of heat. Slightly less heat is required in the polystyrene incubator.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

News

A man wearing a baseball caps squats down inside a poultry house, holding a black camera. Feeders line the floor in rows, small, yellow chicks feed nearby, and the house stretches behind him in the distance.
Filed Under: Livestock, Poultry January 11, 2019

In a state where temperatures exceed 90 degrees more than 100 days a year, heat control in poultry houses is a very important consideration for Mississippi's biggest agricultural industry.

A close-up of a commercial chicken with white feathers is shown in the right three-quarters of the foreground with other chickens blurred in the background.
Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Poultry December 18, 2018

Poultry producers got off to a robust start in 2018, which helped the industry end the year strong.

A woman holds a brown and white chicken while a young girl looks on.
Filed Under: Poultry June 1, 2018

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- More than a million backyard chicken flocks provide Americans with eggs, meat or companionship, a trend Mississippians embrace, but hobby farmers must learn proper care to keep them healthy.

A close up of white eggs stacked in a bowl with other white eggs.
Filed Under: Poultry April 13, 2018

RAYMOND, Miss. -- With low feed prices and healthy demand for broilers and eggs, the Mississippi poultry industry is poised for another productive year.

An illustration depicts a large yellow chick with a graph showing the number of Salmonella outbreaks since 2000 and includes text instructions to wash hands after handling backyard poultry.
Filed Under: Youth Poultry, Agriculture, Livestock, Poultry March 30, 2018

Baby chickens are so cute and cuddly that few people can resist holding them. Unfortunately, as public interest in raising backyard birds has grown so has the number of Salmonella outbreaks in the U.S. (Photo by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Watch

Farmweek, Entire Show, August 28, 2015
Farmweek

Season 39 Show #08

Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 7:00pm

Listen

Contact Your County Office

Your Extension Experts

Portrait of Dr. John Emerson Linhoss
Assistant Professor
Portrait of Dr. George Thomas Tabler
Extension Professor
Portrait of Dr. Jessica Benoit Wells
Asst Clinical/Ext Professor