to our "hatchery". We'll give you a quick tour. The room is
a small bedroom about 10' x 12'. The GQF Sportsman Cabinet incubator
model 1503 is in the back left corner. The 1503 is just like the
popular 1202 except that it's equipped with the multi-turn electronic thermostat.
We've also added the automatic humidity option. The water tray in
the incubator is kept full from the 5 gallon bucket on top. We bought the
Sportsman in Nov. of 1998 and it hasn't been empty or turned off since.
We usually have at least 4 or 5 batches of eggs in there at different stages
of development. Each group of eggs has a 2"x3" card stuck in with
them marked with the date of moving to the hatcher and the projected hatch
the back wall next to the Incubator are three folding tables for the hatchers
and brooders. We have 4 styrofoam GQF fan-equipped Hovabators that
we use as hatchers (no turners). We set them up as we need them to
save room. We have a calendar up in the kitchen where we mark the
dates eggs move from the incubator to one of the Hovabators (three days
before hatch) and hatch dates are marked as well. Using the Hovabators
as hatchers allows us to keep the cabinet incubator full all the time and
to set numerous batches of eggs in it at the same time. We also don't "foul"
the bottom of the incubator by using the hatch tray in there. We
just wipe it out once in a while instead of having to empty it and give
it a good cleaning and sanitizing after each hatch.
of purchasing expensive electric brooders we use 90 quart Rubbermaid Storage
containers ($8 from Walmart). I used a soldering iron with a flat
tip to cut the center out of some of the tops, and hot-glued 1/2" welded
wire mesh in it's place. That way we use one of the modified covers
across the back of two storage containers and set 100 watt red flood lamps
($6 each at Lowe's) in reflectors on top of them. This provides very
near the correct temp for the brooders, and if the chicks get too hot,
they move to the front of the containers. We use the full un-modified
cover across the front of the containers, so the chicks don't jump out.
For details on building these brooders, CLICK
line the bottom of the storage containers with about four layers of paper
towels for footing. This helps prevent "spraddle leg" in chicks.
We use quart size plastic waterers with non-drowning bases in the brooders
and 6" round galvanized feeders, the type that use a mason jar on top to
hold the feed. The Rubbermaid containers are super easy to clean.
We just take them out in the back yard and rinse them out with a hose,
then wipe with disinfectant solution (Tektrol), put in new paper towels
and they're ready to go again. We can house about 30 baby chicks
or 50 baby quail in each of these for the first two weeks or so.
Once the chicks feather out and no longer need supplemental heat (4-5 weeks)
we move them into the 2'x3' cages in the new barn.
room we're now using as a hatchery is a small "extra" bedroom in the house
that used to be our game room, hence the tournament dartboard and beer
signs... There are some neon beer signs in the room too! Justine
and I used to love to play darts and I'd even let her win once in a while.
We have about 30 sets of darts, all weights and sizes. We haven't
been able to play since the room became a fowl "nursery". You can just
see the edge of a round card table in the lower right corner of this picture...
It now has two more Hovabators on it instead of cards. The
boxes under the brooders are storage for incubation supplies such as the
plastic egg setting trays for the Sportsman incubator in four sizes: quail,
bantam/pheasant, chicken and duck/goose/peafowl. We also have a small portable
vacuum down there for quick cleanups. This arrangement works quite well
for us. Email us if you have any questions.