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Cheap Homemade Incubator

| Updated October 17, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Drill

  • 10 gallon Styrofoam ice chest

  • 10 gallon aquarium heater

  • 4 bricks

  • Plastic grate

  • Handsaw

  • Styrofoam egg carton

  • Utility knife

  • Plexiglas

  • Electrical tape

Incubators are often used to heat eggs of both birds and reptiles if the mother is unable to do so for any reason. Incubators are also used by breeders to ensure proper care during the incubation process. Although there are a number of commercial incubators on the market, they can be quite expensive. If you are a novice breeder or are looking for a homemade, inexpensive alternative to the commercial versions, you can make your own homemade incubator at little cost, using an aquarium heater and a Styrofoam ice chest.

Use a drill to make a hole in the side of the Styrofoam ice chest, 2 inches below the top edge of the chest. The hole should be large enough to feed the wires of an aquarium heater through it. Feed the wires through and rest the heater on the bottom of the ice chest.

Place one brick in each of the four corners of the ice chest.

Insert a plastic grate into the cooler and rest it on top of the four bricks. Grates can be found at your local home improvement store. If necessary, use a handsaw to cut the grate to fit your ice chest.

Add water to your ice chest until the aquarium heater is covered and the water is about a quarter of an inch below the grate.

Cut the lid off of a Styrofoam egg carton. Discard the lid. Place the bottom of the egg carton into the chest and place it on to the center of the grate.

Use a utility knife to cut a rectangular hole in the lid of the ice chest. Discard the cut-out rectangle. Place a piece of Plexiglas over the hole. Secure it into place with electrical tape. The size of the rectangle is up to you. This will be a window to see into the incubator.

Place your eggs into the egg carton and incubate as required.


  • To prevent damage to your eggs, place the ice chest on a level surface where it will not be disturbed during incubation.