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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok. I have realized that buying these styrofoam incubators and only getting a few uses out of them is getting expensive. So I have been on a journey to find a larger incubator. But I'm goin to be honest. I'm not paying $400-500 for a good one.

The past few days I have went from website to website trying to figure out the best way to make a homemade incubator that will hold 200-300 eggs......... Ever thought of this........... A refrigerator. It's sterile, large containment, insulated, air circulated, and I went to Lowes today and they gave me one that didn't work FOR FREE!!!!!!

Today I grabbed the refrigerator and the trays out of the other refrigerators in the back trash. After sucking out the freon with my fathers tool (he owns a mechanic business and it's illegal to release freon into the air) I took out the compressor. I got lucky and the circulating fan inside still works. Took all the hardware off the back and cut down on the weight by almost half. Took the compressor power wire and stuck it through the back of the fridge for a power source.

Tomorrow I will be taking the used parts from old incubators (heating elements, wafer, digital thermostat, and rotating trays) and placing them inside of the refrigerator after I connect a plugin to the compressor power source. I will be needing to buy a surge protector and two more egg rotating trays.

Ok I'm tired of writing. I hope y'all read this and it either helps you or you can give me some advice. I might just be young and dumb but it's worth a shot. I'm thinking total expenses to be around $100 dollars.
 

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I think you're amazing. Most people who are a high success do it when they are young and "dumb". Steve Jobs, Zuckerman, Johnny Depp, Robin Williams, Steve Martin. They did it because they didn't know enough to know they couldn't. Keep working and thinking and don't be afraid to make mistakes! Atta boy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Woohoo. Good to have support. I hope it works. My fathers mechanic shop has all the tools I need. And he wants to put 100 quail eggs in it so I have his help. I don't know if anyone has had a refrigerator that didn't work but they kept it closed. The smelllllllllll ewwwwww. I'm hoping that doesn't happen.
 

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Built two of them so far.

1st one was a simple box made of plywood, wafer thermostat that anyone can buy from a feed store, a 110v computer fan and 2 light bulb sockets. I have done 3 hatches in it and I have averaged as high as 90%. Capacity about 60 eggs. No auto turners, I incubated in the cartons so I could turn 12 eggs at one time.

2nd one is built out of a discarded refridgerator I got from work. Same set up, wafer thermostat, small 110v fan, light bulbs for heat + auto turners. I am on my second hatch, first hatch, was only 70%. Current capacity 82 eggs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm going to have a digital thermostat in there that reads humidity. Plus I live in southern Alabama where there is a lot of humidity already. If I need to add humidity I put a glass mason jar with hot water inside near one of the heaters. I I need to get rid of humidity I have "damp-rid" packs
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The easiest way is to buy a digital thermostat that monitors it all. But I'm using recycled heaters from two old incubators and they still have the wafers. Which control the tempature.
 

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one question:

What is the wattage of the salvaged heat elements?

Are they going to be large enough to maintain heat in a space as large as a refridgerator?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I don't want to sound stupid but I don't know. The came out of the smaller foam Little Giant incubator. And just the light that comes on in your fridge kept it at almost 90 degrees by itself. I rigged it where it stays on all the time. It was hot in there. Plus it's hot outside even winters aren't that cold here
 

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I'm curious, why do you only get a few uses out of a styrofoam incubator? I'm on my seventh hatch in one and 4th in the other...

So two things to consider: putting HOT or boiling water in for humidity will raise the temp in the incubator too high, especially on the eggs nearest the water source. You shouldn't add water that's more than 100 degrees. Also, IF you need humidity remember you want surface area to evaporate the water into the air. So a jar may not be the best way to go, a shallow bowl with a sponge may work better, gives you more area.

Here's another sorta painful thought, perhaps you should test it with just a few eggs so in case you have difficulties you haven't lost a whole lot of chicks. Less emotional risk that way. (And quail only take 18 days so that's not so long to wait to fill her up!!!)

Let's us know how it goes!
 

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I was thinking do a test run with no one in there. Just in case something goes amiss then all you have lost is a little time. Good luck. The project seems to be moving right along. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I was going to run it for a week tryin different things. Monitoring everything. Trying different strategies. Believe it or not I have seen an egg left in the barn that was left unattended by any hens and I turned it once a day and it hatched. The bitty was killed by a predator but it hatched
 

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If I might hazard some advice here, learned from several weeks of trial and error.

Be prepared to move the position of thermostat and heat elements. be prepared to adjust the size of the heat elements.

I am currently using light bulbs, currently I have good temperature control, but I believe light bulbs are the worse source of heat to use. I would really like to get me some ceramic heat elements some where around 25 to 40w in size.

It has taken me more than 2 weeks to get the temperature control, fan and thermostat all right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have left the fan in the refrigerator working which circulates the air from the freezer to the fridge then sucked from the bottom and put back in the freezer. At a local auto parts store u can get a rotating fan that will circulate the air even more. I'm going to get all the levels correct before putting eggs in. Then try it with only six or a dozen or so. Then the vegetable trays in the bottom are going to be lined with a washable cushion to be used as a brooder boxes
 
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