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Written by Carole

Are you looking for FREE egg incubator plans? Well I have the solution if you have an electric skillet.

This is my first try for this and I am excited at the possibilities. I call myself creative but I would have never thought of this. I read about it yesterday on a forum I frequent and could not wait to give it a try.

electric skillet incubator
homemade egg incubator

In all the stuff I read yesterday, they recommend having a glass lid but at this point I don’t have one so I am utilizing the lid that came with the pan. I will search for my glass lid at local thrift stores and I hope by the time the 18th day comes around I will have found one.

I have a wash cloth lining the bottom that was run under water and squeezed the excess out. I do not have a hydrometer that measures the humidity so I may be in trouble. I am using a cooking thermometer and you can see it is reading 100. You do not have to put them in cartons but I chose to do it this way. Again, this being the first time I may end up with nothing. But there is also the possibility of hatching baby chicks and that keeps me motivated!

Just in case you want to try this yourself, I will be posting a follow up entry with all the instructions to date. Just know as I learn this could modify somewhat.

I will keep you updated on the egg incubating process. Especially when I start candling the eggs. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes (and I hope there are not too many).

I was just so excited when I read about this yesterday and realized I had an egg incubator sitting in my kitchen and could have tried this process along time ago. If you have tried this, please post a comment and let the readers’ know.

10amremoved small dish of water as condensation was forming on eggs. Evidently too much since I had added water to the wash cloth before lining the skillet.
2pm…removed egg cartons and metal tray (I believe the metal tray was causing the heat to rise a little). Now eggs are laying on their sides and I have added markings to their sides to keep track of rotations.

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47 Responses to “Homemade Egg Incubator”

  1. Hey, I’ve been searching Mother Earth, Google, etc… Information overload without specific answers. You’re a chicken expert in that you’ve been doing this a while. Maybe you could answer two questions for me? Is it OK/good to feed chickens coffee grounds? Is there any type of weed/plant/table scrap that would be toxic/harmful to the chickens or their eggs? Hope you might be able to help us. Thanks so much. Love all the ideas you have.

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  2. Paulette, Thanks for stopping in and commenting. I would like to think I am an expert but cannot make that claim, I just love raising chickens.

    To answer your first question about coffee grounds, from what I read most people do not think there is a benefit to feeding chickens coffee grounds. The commentators claim that most small animals cannot properly utilize caffeine and it leads to cardiac arrest (as in dogs). I do not know if this is true but I would agree that there would be no benefit to feeding your chickens the grounds. I put mine around my azaleas and other blooming plants. I read somewhere that it helps them to have more blooms.

    Your other question, I found one item so far and I am sure there are many more: According to Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens (Chicken Bible) Page 53. Don’t feed raw potato peels, which chickens can’t easily digest – cook potato peels or avoid them. I tried to feed mine apple peels the other day and they didn’t eat them either. Probably due to the same reason as potato peels. And one last little tidbit of information I found: For the record, chickens CANNOT eat raw potato skin or green potato skin. They also CANNOT eat Eggplants and should avoid green tomatoes and tomato plants because they’re in the nightshade family.
    Onions and garlic can made the eggs taste strange but it won’t do the birds any harm.
    The only things that you should completely avoid with birds is Chocolate, Caffeine and Alcohol.

    I hope that helps with your questions. Visit more often and comment frequently!

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    Jamie Reply:

    AVOID – Rhubarb too!!!!

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    David Reply:

    Also avoid feeding ANY animal avocado as it is toxic. Also no citrus for chickens.

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  3. Hi Carole, Thanks for your reply. I’m glad I checked the next morning before giving them the coffee grounds. I also have a garden and might have given them green tomatoes. Potato peels were ready to be taken out – I kid you not! So thanks for your help! We appreciate your quick and thoughtful response. Happy Chicken raising : ).

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  4. hi guys, my name is edmonson edmond i love to raise chicken but i do not have much idea about it.i would like to get in the business of eggs and chicks.i was checking on home made incubator,there very expensive,can you give some explaination how to built one with specification i mean an incubator,and how to grow the chiks.
    sincerly edmonson

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  5. did the eggs hatch?

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  6. Edmonson, Unfortunately in my inexperience I did not realize the humidity and temperature was such a factor. So no, these eggs did not hatch. I haven’t tried it again since I have an incubator now but I believe I could do it since learning more about regulation of the temperature and humidity.

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  7. I’ve made my own incubators with very successful hatches.
    the suggested temp is 98 to 102 degrees F. i usually keep mine at 99-100 degrees. the humidity should be around 40%. you need to stop turning the eggs 3 days before the hatch and during the hatch try to keep the humidity 50%-60%.

    GOOD LUCK ON YOUR NEXT HATCH!!

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    youth program Reply:

    Hi Geneva,

    We are going to be hatching chicken eggs and we would like to know how you made your incubator. Can you please let us know the materials that we are in need of.

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  8. Hey my name is Kailey and I am 12 years old!!!! Recently my school has hatched eggs and the chicks have hatched and they are so cute and fluffy…….so i was thinking of incubating my own eggs and seeing how it goes.
    Unfortunitly the incubators are very expensive and my mom cant offord them :(:(:(
    So i was thinking of making my own incubator….but i have school and i dont have time to turn them three times a day. I was thinking of just buying a turner but i dont know how to even make a good and promising incubator…….. i need help please comment back

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  9. I see that lots of people are looking for Homemade Egg Incubator plans. I found a website a few months ago and followed the plans and it worked perfectly. Out of 20 eggs , 18 hatched , one egg died at 7th day check, and one not fertile. I build the “The GopherBator” on the list, which I would recommend if your thinking on building one. smaller versions could also be built with no problem. My total cost for building it was $10.00 the rest I scavenged for , and with a little looking around you too can build one. The only thing I had to buy is a thermostat at the local hardware store, the $10.00 . So here is the web site , good luck.
    http://www.backyardchickens.co.....bator.html

    http://www.backyardchickens.co.....opherBator

    It worked for me !!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Jay Reply:

    Thank for the site Jimmy, I will let you know how I go,

    Jay

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  10. I want to hatch eggs but due to untouched price of incubators my need didnt succesful do u help me to do home made incubators?

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  11. here is a link with all kinds of ideas. most of these incubators were built for less than $40. they are fairly easy to make!

    http://www.backyardchickens.co.....bator.html

    hope it helps!

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  12. Hi i have a question about the “Gopherbator”……..

    I was wondering what are the baby food jars for?

    If you dont know what i am talking about please visit the site and help me out

    http://www.backyardchickens.co.....opherBator

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  13. Kailey, I looked at the set up and the only thing I can think they would be for is added moisture to increase the humidity in the incubator. Sometimes even though the pan below has water in it you still have to find additional methods of increasing the humidity. If someone else reading this has another reply, please let’s hear from you.

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  14. i made incubator with out thermostat and it works! I got 12 quail eggs and 10 hached! I used only bulb light fan thats it

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    edz Reply:

    how you do it u made incubator with out thermostat/

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  15. How about home made brooders?

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  16. An incubator is as simple as a plastic container, a light bulb w/lamp cord, a mug to hold water, and a small fan.
    If you have heard of the “Easy Bake Ovens”, then you should know what a light bulb can do.(keep a thermometer on the surface that the eggs lay on. The light bulb will also work as a brooder heat source, the chicks will cuddle up to it if they get cold. Keep the temp between 98 to 110 for chicken eggs. (Geneva knows her temps)
    Be sure to place your incubator where you will see it naturally every day so you will remember to gently turn the eggs and monitor the temp/humidity. Keep a flashlight near by to monitor the embryo growth.
    Stop turning them 3 days prior to hatch.
    I have rasied and incubated chickens, wild fowl, water fowl, and even reptiles since I was 8 yrs old, and now I’m over 50.
    I love that everyone cares so much to do this, I hope this helped.

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    Kerri Reply:

    Hello, Datura! I know you posted this well over a year ago, but i am just now incubating eggs. I am fearful that they have come this far and will not hatch only because the temperature has been fluctuating and was 92* this morning when i woke up and was close to 110* this evening for half an hour only. I see that you say the temp can go up this high and am looking for any reassuring and/or advice! We are at 18 incubation and i just turned them for the last time tonight. I candled them several days ago and definitely saw happy little embryos swimming all around! Thank you for any help!!!

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  17. The baby food jars with water in them aren’t for extra humidity as they have lids on them. They are used as a ‘heat sink’ to help keep the temperature constant.

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  18. Hi I was wondering if anyone could help. Two days ago I found a dead duck on our garden and today I noticed she had laid 12 duck eggs. I want to try and hatch them but have no idea if they are alive or how I would go about making a homemade incubator. I have an airing cupboard where the hot water tank is which is warm but not too hot, so would it be ok if I kept them in there and turned them three times a day?

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    Carole Reply:

    Jane, I’m not sure about duck eggs so hopefully someone who is familiar with them and the incubation temp and time can answer better.

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  19. I see many posts that people say it is expensive to buy an incubator. I found one at TSC for $41.00 and have used it to hatch quail eggs and just hatched a batch of ducks.

    I purchased all the goodies like a turner and special rails for the quail eggs, but if you have the time to turn them yourself 3 or 4 times a day at a minimum, then all you need is the incubator.

    If you have questions about incubating, I have created a group on Facebook called Egg Incubators that I would love to give my experience and help you with this awesome project.

    Just remember, this is not a “place the eggs and forget them until they hatch” type of project. Do the research because you will find that the following things are important (how to place the egs, humidity, temperature and turning). This varies with each type of egg you are incubating! Read first and then get ready for a very rewarding project!

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  20. Rev. Smith, Sorry I don’t retail anything on this website. I do sell hatching eggs but because of the difficulty shipping overseas I only sell in US. You might want to check out some of the advertisers on the blog. I know some of them do carry incubators. Thanks for stopping in and sorry I couldn’t help you further!

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    David Steven Roberts Reply:

    I’m sure you know this by now, but Rev. Smith is a fraud. The whole shipping thing is a scam. I see it all the time.

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  21. I seek your assistance in making an incubator that can hatch 300 eggs. This is because Icant afford the exhorbitant cost of buying a modern computerised one.

    Thanks in advance.

    Engola Patrick.

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  22. my sister just reminded me that our mother used an electric frying pan for an incubator some fifty years ago….I just hatched nine out of ten today in my purchased incubator…I lowered the temp from what my instructions for the incubator said and had much better success….all of them hatched, but one little one went to chickie heaven…he was born deformed….in all my instructions , it says not to write on the eggs with pens or markers…use a pencil…and place in the egg rack with the small end down. thats where the automatic egg turner is handy…it is a seperate unit and would work in some other heat source. I am wondering if the large corning glass lids would fit a frying pan….will give this method a try just for fun….

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  23. Little giant makes an incubator almost identical to the havobator, available @ tractor supply for $40.00, still air no turner, but a turner for it is also $40.00, and you can add a fan from an old computer tower, simply…

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  24. My mother chook is not sitting on her eggs now and l just noticed there is a baby chick and one squeaking inside the shell, l can see its little beak through the hole its made. So l waited a while and the mother din’t go back, l have taken the eggs and the chick into my kitchen and placed them in a electric frypan ontop of a towel with a little glass of water and put the top on. l dont have a thermometer but l will go up the shop now and buy one. l,m not sure what to do now, what do l do with the chicks once they have hatched, do l feed them and if so what? Should l return them to the mother chick, will she look after them..Any suggestions please, l would hate to loose them with out giving them my best shot..

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  25. please i need more in detail.

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  26. one question for the homemade Incubators do you put the top on or just leave it without one

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    Carole Reply:

    Definitely with the top on.

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    Carl Reply:

    I think the best incubator is a hen. When I was young my grand mother would get fertilize eggs from a local farmer and she placed them under the hens we already had.That how we got chicks because she wouldn’t keep roosters because they were too noisy.

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  27. Hi, Carole. Im A new Person To Learning Bout Chickens And All. I Was Wondern If You Had Any Tips Or Any Such As To Hatching A Egg? Im Scared Because It Is So Cold That I Might Not Be Able To Hatch Any..
    Thanks Always
    Kaitlynn

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  28. Hi
    Carole,
    It’s my first time to visit this great website. I am very interesting in poultry hatching egg. I hereby write to request Tips and memorabilia please.

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  29. There are so many different types of egg incubators. I really like the idea of making your own incubator. I think it could be a great activity for a family with kids. I have seen them made quite easily so it doesn’t have to be hard. I have never seen it done this way though. So this is quite an interesting idea using the skillet. Too bad it didn’t work for you.

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  30. I was looking for new ideas on homemade incubators when I stumbled on your site.I will have to say that I have never used a electric skillet. I have used dehydrators, heat pads, Aquariums. Now I will have to try the skillet. Years ago, my mother use to hatch 3 eggs over the piolet light of her cook stove. wraped in a damp cloth…
    I also was reading where some people don`t feed their chicken certain fruits and veggies.. My roosters roam around the property freely and I call them my garbage hounds. And the eat everything from Bananna peels to onions. Coffee grounds, red peppers,and even advacato. I feed them all our table scraps. We have yet to lose a bird.
    Now our hens are a different story. We mix and grind their foods mostly of corn, wheat, rye, and oats. They have a clover field and we keep them a spinach patch during the spring and clover. I do splurge and get them some yogart and cottage cheese. But have had no problems our birds.
    Anyway, back to the incubation subject. I will try the electric skillet and make it work.. I will get back to you on it.

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  31. i am doing 2 eggs in my electric skillet w/ wet wash cloth and 1 egg in my crock pot w/ wet wash cloth. started them today. will report back.Bernice in Bloomingdale, Michigan

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  32. Great post, I like the idea of making my own incubator. Thanks for the share!

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  33. They also don’t seem to like asparagus although I wouldn’t put it past them to eat it if if was growing in your garden!

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  34. I think I may be the person that you got this idea from off a Ckicken Forum. Our incubator once went out 10 days into a hatch so we had to think fast and get creative. We used a warming tray with a clear plastic lid. We had two out of nine eggs hatch so it wasn’t a total loss. Glad to see others are improoving on what we learned.

    GaryDean26

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    Curtis Reply:

    Note: We put 2-3 layers of bath towels over the whole heating tray to insulate it. We didn’t use any water trays at all. We would splash, (only about a 1/2 teaspoon) of water onto the towels if our hydrometer got below 30%. We didn’t have to add much water until hatch day since the towels made a cozy nest. The towels we never wet or even damp to the touch.

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  35. did the eggs hatch?

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    Carole Reply:

    No they did not. Humidity was not regulated well enough.

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