I have invented several incubators over the years. I am no genius, amazed some of these things haven't burned my house down! But for me, the fun is in inventing.

Hatched chicks in an old camper fridge with a light bulb for heat and a wool blanket for a door. Fridgebator.

Hatched chicks in a cardboard box. Boxbator.

Hatched chicks in a Styrofoam cooler. Foambator.

Hatched chicks in my big, black roasting pan with a layer of popped popcorn under the eggs, and a bulb under the roaster. Roastbator.

Now am using the big, black roaster again, but this time the eggs are on a plastic liner from a box of wine, filled with water. Bulb under roaster. Waterbator.

The waterbator has undergone lots of tweaking, it is not a perfect design. Biggest problem is getting an accurate switch. My point is to build a bator that anyone could reproduce for little money. For me, going out and buying an expensive thermostat defeats the purpose of a homebuilt bator. Right now I have an awkward wafer device that HUbby cobbled together with wing nuts and hockey tape. But so far (fingers crossed) it seems to be mostly working.

This waterbator is also in response to the often heard agony hatchers have over humidity. IT has been my experience that most of my chicks make it to the finish line and DROWN as they pip, because the egg has not lost enough moisture. But still people insist on adding humidity. I believe that the whole humidity issue would go away if we quit incubating with HOT BLOWING AIR. It's the extremely unnatural and harsh conditions of hot, blowing air that make us have to compensate by adding humidity. Goodbye to hot air, goodbye to humidity worry. I hope.

I maintain that I have never seen a hen sweat on her eggs, since a hen has no sweat ducts/glands. How does a hen add humidity? She does not. However, she also does not dry her eggs out by blowing hot air on them, either. So I hope the warm plastic bag of water mimics the direct body contact of a hen.

So, experiment underway. Friends who drop in see this contraption in the kitchen and assume I'm cooking a turkey, on the floor, with a light bulb. Is it that big a stretch? When I was a kid I cooked awful, gummy little cakes in a little oven, heated with a light bulb.