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Sailfin
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'd like to make an incubator for raising baby birds (our hand-fed babies from parrotlets and such). The ones I've seen are AC/DC powered via cig. lighter in car or battery or electrical outlet. The temp control must be able to reach a range of 75 degrees to 100 degrees and stay where it is set. My goal is to be able to build one that is small, such as using a very small cooler. Most home-builts use a cooler of one size or another, and the lid is modified so you can see through it (acrylic).

Is this do-able for an economic price? (under $50 - $75?)

Thanks!
Shirley :)
 

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Sailfin
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Rick!
Thanks for the link. That would work for hatching eggs (and it's a good price) for for the chick-rearing incubator, I would need more "head room" and such.

Here's a link to one I can't possibly afford, and it's overkill, they make them a lot cheaper than this using a Rubbermaid tub and parts from Radio Shack.

http://www.avianheat.com/

That gives you an idea...but it's way too large and costs way more than necessary.

Thanks,
Shirley :)
 

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Sailfin
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This looks pretty good. Now for some questions b/c I'm electronically illiterate:

Does this include the heating unit? In other words, this plus a box (cooler, whatever) would make an incubator? Or would I need to buy other stuff as well?

I can't remember exactly, but I think the cheaper models I saw at the bird shows were $100-150.

Thanks!
Shirley
 

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The Ranco is just a controller. It doesn't include a heater. But if you need precise control it will keep the temp stable. How hot are the hot rocks that are used in lizard cages?
 

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Sailfin
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, I don't know about the hot rocks. But, I have a large one. I keep the heating pad on low beneath the container and it fluctuates from 85 - 95, not a steady 90. I would have to keep the reptile rock covered with a towel - try the thermometer and see what happens. It's a large rock...my snakes used it ages ago.

Thanks - I'll test it out.

~ Shirley:)
 

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Sailfin
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2,449 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So far, the cheapest I've found is $249 for a unit made by a bird breeder here in Indy. The other one was $425. The $249 one has a flashing red light if the temp is too high and it turns itself off. It also runs off AC/DC 12v battery cig lighter end or electricity.

There must be a way to make these things cheaper by far than this....

~ Shirley
 

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Sailfin
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Wow! Thanks!! I had found a couple of these, but this is VERY helpful.

This is from one of the sites:

Some of the ones that I like best on the market today are water brooders that use a heater like you would use in an aquarium or for reptiles. The brooder is made of plastic and has two vents on top for regulating temperatures. The unit for the chicks fits inside the unit for the heated water. The tank needs to be refilled as the water evaporates so that the heater remains covered with water. This brooder produces an adequate amount of humidity for the chicks because of the heated water. One problem that can arise is bacterial proliferation in the water, especially pseudomonas. The use of a water cleanser is advisable to prevent bacterial pathogens from causing illness in the nursery.

There is the potential for dangerously high humidity from the heated water that is used in the brooder. The vents should be used to adjust the brooder to provide for the needs of the chicks. One of the biggest problems is that changing the water in the tank can be quite difficult because the water makes the brooder very heavy and even harder to clean when filled with water.
Humidity is important and I'd not thought of doing it this way....I'll have to read the other links and think on this and talk to a couple breeders I know.

I just tested my big reptile rock and it no longer heats. Been about 8 yrs since I last plugged it in!

The rock does work afterall. I'll check the temp in the a.m.

Thanks!
~ Shirley :)
 

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While not portable, I've also seen ones made from a light bulb (behind a piece of wood) and a "wafer" thermostat. I bred parrots for 6/7 years and I've seen all kinds of incubators and brooders. I used to have grumbaucher incubator, nice but pricey but also well worth it. I ran it using a UPS battery backup to prevent temp spikes in case of power fluctuations or outages.
 

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That shouldn't be a problem, especially with pin feathers, although it would be better if the temps stayed a little more stable than that. If there are more than one baby bird together they will huddle up to keep each other warm just as they will move apart if they are too hot.

We had cockatiels, lovebirds, conures, cockatoos, Macaws, senegals and a few others... :) Total we had as many as 300 birds at one time.

The temp fluctuations I'm talking about were in an incubator not a brooder. Grumbaucher incubaters are very sensitive and any kind of electrical outage or spike will cause the temp in the incubator to spike as much as 20 degrees (at least they used to) which is more than enough to kill off the unhatched eggs.
 
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