Introduction: DIY Styrofoam Egg Incubator
For folks new to hatching, Styrofoam egg incubators can offer a great learning experience at much lower costs. Here are some ideas to get you started with this fun process. If you have any comments, please let me know.
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Step 1: Get Your Supplies
You can get a Styrofoam cooler at a local doctor's office for very cheap or often for free. Here, we'll be using the Styrofoam from a pressure pumper packaging. For all the other stuff, you can find them around your house, at Home Depot, or any local hardware stores. The total cost should be somewhere around $10-$20. Pretty affordable. The process takes about 30 minutes of your time.
Step 2: Cut a View Window
On your cooler, cut a window for view. This helps you see the eggs during the process & adjust things if needed. You can try heating up the serrated knife before cutting Styrofoam. It will go through like butter. The window size depends on your box size. But we'd say about the size of an iPad mini would be good enough. After that's done, you can put the clear plastic glass on & glue it into place. Get rid of all the foam balls from the cutting.
Step 3: Hook Your Bulb On
You can start with a small 5-15W light bulb. The placement on the top lid seems to spread the heat more evenly from side to side. Then, glue the bulb on with Elmer's or some duct tape. Also, if you want to be able to adjust the temperature, you can set the bulb with a dimmer control. Otherwise, you can experiment with punching some holes on the cooler's side to adjust temperature.
Step 4: Test Run Before Loading Your Eggs
You can use extra thermometers to check the temperatures over 3-5 days before loading the eggs in. Placing some rubber sheet at the bottom can help the eggs not roll all over the place. Here, we use some paper towel. You can place a small cup of water in to test the humidity depending on your local area. If it's too humid inside, try punching some holes so the water can get out. If it's losing too much moisture, block the holes with some tape.
Step 5: Load the Eggs In
For the first 18-19 days, try to keep the humidity around 50-55% & the temperature around 37.5C or 99.5F. You can turn the eggs 2-3 times a day. And for the last 2-3 days, ramp up the humidity to around 70-75% to make it easier for the chicks to hatch out of their shells. The downside to Styrofoam incubator though is the smell & clean-up hassle. It may not be a durable investment for more serious hatches. But for the price, it's unbeatable. A great learning tool for kids & DIYers. Hope you find this somewhat useful! Let me know if you have any cool ideas.