Introduction: Home-made Incubator From Reclaimed Desktop Computer Case

About: I like to make things more simple with easily available resources. My favorite quote: A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a…

Recently my interest has turned into growing country chickens in our backyard and I have also constructed a small chicken coop in our home garden. When the chicken started laying eggs, I thought of making an incubator for hatching few of the eggs.

Arrival of Laptops have made Desktop Computers obsolete and few older models were lying unused at our home. So, an idea formed in my mind to use the desktop computer case as an incubator.

Please go through the instructable and offer your comments for improvement

Step 1: What You Need...

You need the following items to build the incubator

  • An old desktop computer case
  • A Temperature and Humidity Sensor
  • Trays to hold eggs. Here I have used micro-oven safe trays with rice spread in them to hold the eggs
  • An incandescent bulb of 40 watts with holder, necessary length of wire, plug and switch
  • A suitable size of plate glass to cover the top of computer case
  • A bowl to keep water inside the computer case

Step 2: Prepare the Desktop Computer Case

  • Remove the power supply, Motherboard and other unwanted items from the computer case. I have left few hard-to-remove connectors and metal partitions inside the case.
  • The top of the computer case will be covered by the plate glass

Step 3: Arrangment

  • Lay the computer case flat on the floor on any other suitable table
  • Place the incandescent bulb at one corner of the computer case
  • Place the bowl filled with water near the incandescent bulb
  • Spread lot of rice on the trays and place the eggs over the rice
  • Place the Temperature and Humidity Sensor near top of the case
  • Cover the computer case with the plate glass from top

Step 4: Management of the Incubator

  • The water kept in the bowl will get evaporated. Always make sure to fill the bowl with fresh water.
  • Rotate the eggs on the tray two to three times a day . Rice spread on the trays will help keeping the rotated eggs in positon
  • Maintain the correct temperature. The optimal temperature required inside incubator is 37.5 °C (99.5°F). Here I have managed to watch the temperature sensor and kept it between 36.5 and 38°C

The next step explains how I have managed to keep the temperature within range manually

Step 5: How to Maintain the Temperature

As I have mentioned earlier, the temperature inside the incubator to be maintained between 36.5 and 38°C. I have used few thermocol sheets to maintain the required temperature.

  • If the temperature is less, cover the sides and top of plate glass with the thermocol sheets. This will increase the temperature inside the incubator
  • When the temperature starts to rise, move the thermocol sheets to the back, away from the bulb.
  • After some practice, the thermocol sheets can be placed in positon which keeps the temperature in control

Step 6: Chicken Eggs Started to Hatch

  • I have maintained the incubator for about three weeks. On 21st day, I saw some cracks in few of the eggs. One by one the baby-chicks came out of the egg shells. In the above photographs, you can see the birth of a baby chick from a cracked egg.

Step 7: The New-born Chicks

  • The new-born chicks like to drink some water. Hold the babies in your hands and gently allow them to drink water from a small bowl
  • Remove the egg shells immediately from the incubator as this will attract ants inside. You can also mark the outline of the incubator with ant-repellant chalk.
  • Keep the new-born chicks inside the incubator at the same temperature for a minimum of 24 hours before moving them out. I have moved them to a mother hen and it adopted all new-born chicks without any problem

Step 8: Bottom Line

My home-made incubator from old desktop computer case functions great. To automatically control the temperature inside the incubator I bought a W1209 microcontroller based digital controller which I will install inside the incubator.

Please watch the video above of hatching baby-chick from the egg. It is a very long video, so I have edited it to about 12 minutes

Reclaimed Contest 2017

Participated in the
Reclaimed Contest 2017