Winter Project: Manual Egg Turner Tool is by Mandy Pelletier
Find eight plastic coat hangers and two wire hangers. Grab a wire cutter and some light rust-proof wire. This is literally all you need to make a manual egg turner to fit a Hover-Bator brand square styrofoam incubator.
Why did I invent this? I was spending about 15 minutes a day to turn my eggs 3 times a day (this is once more than recommended, but it leaves the overnight period on an opposite side one night to the next). Now it takes a second to reach in, pull over the turner and turn every egg in one second. AND, I’m too cheap to spring $60 for something I could creatively solve on my own.
- Clothing hangers: 8 plastic, 2 metal
- Thin, rust proof, pliable wire
- Pliers to bend metal hangers
- Wire cutters to chop hangers and thinner wire
- Steak knife
- A test egg that is as big as the BIGGEST egg you plan to incubate.
Time to Complete:
- 30 minutes
- 5 to cut hangers
- 5 to score each plastic hanger length
- 15 to wire wrap them together
- 4 to add eggs
- 1 to smile adoringly at the eggs
Automatic egg turners cost between of $60-120 for this size incubator. The manual turner will comfortably hold three dozen chicken eggs on their side, if not more. A row must be left for room to roll them in the front, and to add water without wetting eggs. I have a hen that lays particularly small eggs—so I have 38 in my incubator currently.
Cut each hanger right before the curve on the bottom at either end. This will give you a long straight piece the exact width of your incubator. Check it fits without scraping the wall and make all the hanger match this length, even the metal ones. Once this is done, carefully use a steak knife to scratch a little notch on the top side of each plastic stick about two inches from the tip on both sides.
Lay the plastic ones out all parallel on a towel on a flat surface. Set the BIGGEST egg you’d ever incubate between two of them. Hold the two hanger sticks at both ends and roll the egg in between them. The egg needs to touch the towel enough to have traction to roll and not be raised up by sitting on the hangers. The hangers should be barely touching either side. This is the distance between each plastic stick UNLESS you want to leave some at varying sizes for different egg sizes (like I have).
Bend the ends of the metal hanger with pliers so a plastic stick can be set in the bend. Set the plastic stick in where the notch is. Squeeze wicked hard to tighten the metal around the plastic with the pliers up so the plastic hanger can’t get away. Do this on both ends to make a square—well close to one. The metal pieces are now shorter than the plastic ones, but this is what you want to leave room inside the incubator to roll the eggs.
Set the metal stick under the line of sticks on either side right where the notches you scored are. Use the thin wire to attach each plastic stick to the metal stick. Lay the wire in the notch to keep the smooth plastic from slipping around once assembled. Be sure to wrap the wire really tight so it will not slip.
You should now have eight parallel plastic sticks with one metal stick at either end with wire holding them all together in a square. Lay the square metal side down on the incubator’s wire rack and slide it to the rear. Now it a good time to top off the water. Add eggs to the rows on thier side (that should be marked to establish how far and often they roll). After eggs are loaded, give the contraption a light pull to the front and watch your eggs make one full turn with ease. Okay, that’s it!
Oh, wait last step: Adoringly look over your eggs as a homesteading small brood flock folks do.