12 Simple Homemade Incubators for Chicken Eggs

For any chicken farmer, hatching eggs is the only rewarding offer there is to ease the trouble and hassles of raising chicken.

Sure, raising backyard chicken can prove to be a fun activity, but it does require some significant amount of attention. Additionally, hatching eggs can only be efficiently done with the use of homemade or store-bought egg incubators.

But store-bought incubators are expensive, and the cheaper versions may not be as reliable. Luckily, with some creativity and patience, you can build a DIY chicken incubator in a matter of hours.

Below is a list I have taken the liberty to compile that presents 12 different ways of building DIY egg incubators.

After you've used one of theseideas to make your DIY egg incubator, come back and browse my other free plans so you can build a nesting box, chicken waterer, chicken brooder, chicken coop, chicken tractor, and many more.

$3, 30 Minute Egg Incubator

The goal of this project by Instructables is to create the simplest and cheapest egg incubator possible. Sure other egg incubators perform better, but none are faster or less expensive to build.

The unit is built from few locally available materials. These include a Styrofoam box, a light bulb socket, an incandescent light bulb, some scrap wood, a screen, thermometer and a shallow cup.

The products listed above cost about $3. Speaking of which, the wattage of the incandescent bulb used depends on the size of the box designed. Building the unit takes about 30 minutes.

It is a project that can be hacked by a beginner DIY woodworker with great ease.

2. DIY Cabinet Homemade Egg Incubator

DIY Cabinet Homemade Egg Incubator

The initial plan by Mother Earth News was to build a multi-stage incubator that could regulate and steady temperatures even in an unregulated garage in January. In need of affordable heaters to keep your garage warm?.

But given the messy and noisy hatching process, the unit was redesigned into a hatcher but still can work as an incubator when the need arises. As a hatcher, the cabinet incubator can accommodate about 150 hatchlings comfortably.

The unit is adequately insulated from substantial temperature changes while in a cold garage. It is a massive box within a box featuring fiberglass insulation. A heating compartment sporting a duct designed to direct warm air downwards is used.

For egg trays, a galvanized welded wire can be used. These are sturdy and promote sufficient air flow. Pneumatic staples come in handy in assembling the wooden frame and wire.

A complete list of materials needed for the DIY project is provided in the tutorial. Instructions are also availed to simplify the process.

3. DIY Still Air Incubator

DIY Still Air Incubator

This incubator design is basic. It uses plastic foam cooler to insulate the eggs from temperature changes and to retain heat from a light bulb.

Its outer casing is made of a 0.5-inch plywood to protect the plastic foam box. It can maintain a temperature range of between 97 and 101 degrees with great ease.

The fact that it is a still air incubator means it sports no fan for air circulation. Because of this design, the DIY egg incubator aims for temperatures higher than 101 degrees F.

For humidity purposes, included in the design is a baking pan with water. The baking pan helps to provide between 50-55% levels of humidity during the first 18 days and more than 65% for the last three days.

The materials required are listed on the Hobby Farm tutorial along with a cutting and tool list. Step-by-step instructions are designed to make work easier and help beginners hack the project.

4. Al’s Homemade Cabinet Incubator

Al’s Homemade Cabinet Incubator

This incubator is a creatively designed furniture grade cabinet incubator. Since the DIY incubator is intended to be inside the house, Backyard Chickens decided the least it should be is have an attractive design.

The finished product looks like normal furniture one would have in a home. So with regards to beauty, the project succeeded.

The unit sports three huge windows, a single large sliding hatching tray, remote water filling tube, air vents, lights, and insulation. A complete list of materials required is available in the tutorial.

This egg incubator comes with an automatic egg turner and reserves the capacity to have five more added. Additionally, the hatching tray can accommodate 200 eggs upgradable to a 240 eggs capacity.

The outside of this unit is an utterly and beautifully finished oak cabinet measuring 27 x 27 x 33 inches. Step-by-step instructions are available to help in hacking the cabinet egg incubator in a matter of hours.

5. DIY Cardboard Box Egg Incubator

DIY Cardboard Box Egg Incubator

This incubator is built from scratch using cardboard boxes. It is a cheap incubator and a great beginner project.

Aside from cardboard boxes, one will need screen netting, an extension cord, a light socket, light bulb, thermometer, a pan, glass, and wool.

Two cardboard boxes of different sizes are used. One is placed inside the other leaving about 0.5 inches of space on the sides. In the space left, wool or tiny newspaper bits are added for insulation purposes.

The Home Grown blog tutorial provides images for each step of the building process. These images create a better visual and increase the chances of hacking the project precisely as detailed in the tutorial.

6. Styrofoam Cooler Egg Incubator

Styrofoam Cooler Egg Incubator

With the high cost of purchasing incubators, this DIY incubator project is all the more attractive to chicken farmers. Raising chicken is a rewarding process with this homemade Styrofoam cooler incubator.

The beauty of this project as detailed on the WikiHow blog tutorial is that no building is required. The whole project is about making adjustments to a Styrofoam cooler.

The first step to hacking the project is cutting a hole in the side of the Styrofoam cooler to accommodate a light bulb and a socket. A 25-watt bulb is preferred.

Around the hole, duct tape is used to maintain the integrity of insulation. On the inside, a hard chicken wire is used to partition the space. This partitioning is essential to protect the chicks.

And since the unit is designed to maintain high temperatures and humidity, the thermometer used in the project should have a high accuracy. The project is complete with a step-by-step guide on how to properly incubate eggs.

7. DIY Dy-no-mite Incubator

DIY Dy-no-mite Incubator

The cheap and common incubators prove unreliable. However, the reliable types are expensive. This incubator by the Backyard Chickens blog, however, turns things around.

The incubator is built using a stable, reliable and sturdy explosive wooden box. The tutorial details the process of converting the box into a fully-fledged incubator. Insulation and heating are added to the box.

A thermostat is included in the heating design to help in the regulation of temperatures. Temperature regulation is essential in an incubator.

In this DIY project, you should prepare to take on some considerable amount of measuring and cutting as the box is converted. Overall, it is a simple project perfect for beginners.

8. Styrofoam Forced Air Egg Incubator

Styrofoam Forced Air Egg Incubator

For a fully functional Styrofoam incubator, you need to part with about $100. For smaller low-level models, the price is a bit lower but still on the high end. This DIY incubator by Instructables costs only $30.

If salvaged parts are used in the project, the total cost could even be lower. The estimated time of putting this unit together is an impressive 2 hours.

For this project, you will need a Styrofoam ice chest, a bottle lamp, a water heater thermostat, a transformer, a PC core fan, a shallow dish to regulate humidity and a hardware wire cloth.

A list of tools is also provided on the PDF tutorial. Step-by-step instructions are included to help simplify the project further.

9. Old Desk Drawer Incubator

Old Desk Drawer Incubator

Yes, a permanent desk from your kitchen cabinet can be converted into a clean, functional and efficient incubator. The process is a bit tasking but possible nonetheless.

The Backyard Chickens blog tutorial makes use of two same size drawers. It stacks these together creating a beautiful medium sized box. Galvanized hinges are used to connect the two drawers. 

The handle on the front of the drawer makes it easy to open and close the unit. The right and left side features two ventilation holes each while the front features three. Foil insulation is used in the insides.

Instructions are provided on the blog tutorial to guide you through the project with ease.

10. Styrofoam Broccoli Box Incubator

Styrofoam Broccoli Box Incubator

To get a firm understanding of how to make a homemade incubator, the Nana Glen Mom will take you through the process.

The primary material required for this DIY incubator is a Styrofoam box. You can get one of these boxes from your local grocery store. Most usually give them away for free or for $1. They seal great are adequately insulated.

The entire process explained in the tutorial is of converting the Styrofoam box. Lights and electrical wiring, a thermometer, fan, and hygrometer are included. Overall, this unit is simple to build.

11. Small, Plexiglass and Styrofoam Incubator

Small, Plexiglass and Styrofoam Incubator

All materials needed for this project are readily available at local stores. The incubator is small but still is effective in its purpose. The Styrofoam and plexiglass used in the project cost about $10 each.

A list of materials needed for the project is provided in the Backyard Duck blog tutorial. Setting up the incubator is a simple process.

Courtesy of the detailed instructions, a beginner, can hack it in a matter of hours. Images are added to the tutorial helps one to visualize the end product better.

12. Basic Homemade Styrofoam Incubator

Basic Homemade Styrofoam Incubator

The blog, Storm The Castle details a tutorial on how to make an incubator using basic materials from the store. The project is easy and pretty rewarding.

This homemade incubator has just the right temperature and humidity regulation, and though small and basic, the unique Styrofoam box incubator will get your eggs to hatch.

A video detailing the building process is available. Beginners should watch the video.

And there you have it – 12 DIY egg incubators you can build today. You can choose any of the above listed homemade incubator plans.

When you do build one, feel free to share images of your end product. Be part of the team that helps encourage chicken farmers to take their farming to the next level.

That said, we do love hearing from you. For any additions or queries comment in the comment section below.