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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.

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Dressed in a pink T-shirt and blue jeans, broiler grower Teresa Dyess stands next to two wagon wheels in front of a barn on her family farm.
Filed Under: Women for Agriculture, Poultry October 20, 2017

In three days, Teresa Dyess shifted her business focus from produce to poultry.

The change began two years ago with an offhand remark from her husband, Joe Dyess.

 “He told a broiler grower in Wayne County we wouldn’t mind building pullet houses because we wanted to diversify our farm,” she said. “We didn’t think any more about it, and then the next day a poultry processor called and offered us a contract. A banker came the next day, and everything fell into place.”

Lanette Crocker, coordinator for the MSU Extension Service in Wayne County, said Teresa Dyess’ adaptability has helped her maintain success through the farm’s transition.

Hen flock inventories grew after the poultry industry recovered from the 2015 avian influenza outbreak, increasing the number of eggs on the market and driving down the price. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
Filed Under: Poultry August 4, 2017

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Mississippi's poultry industry remains healthy with a strong demand for broilers and a positive outlook for the remainder of 2017.

Filed Under: Avian Flu March 30, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- All Mississippians who raise any species of poultry are being urged to follow strict biosecurity practices and review new requirements regarding sales and exhibitions.

Tom Tabler, poultry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said that while avian influenza is not a threat to human health or food safety, an outbreak would endanger backyard flocks and the state’s nearly $3 billion commercial poultry industry.

Choosing the right breed of chickens for a backyard flock is an important decision. From left, Tripp, Luna and Charlie Sanders examine chicks for sale March 8, 2017, in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
Filed Under: Poultry March 16, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Families willing to host a flock of feathered friends reap the benefits of fresh eggs delivered daily just outside the door.

What started several years ago as an underground "urban chicken" movement has become much more common and widely accepted. Today, raising backyard chickens has gained popularity nationwide, boosted by interest in locally grown foods that avoid the energy use and carbon emissions typically associated with transporting food.

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Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 7:00pm

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