A Grandparent’s Guide to Incubating Eggs in a Cardboard Box

Hey there egg-cited folks! Ready to embark on a journey back in time to the good ol’ days when incubating eggs meant a cardboard box, a light, and a sprinkle of good vibes? Buckle up, because we’re about to crack the egg-citing secrets of hatching like our grandparents did!

Egg-cubation Countdown: Patience is a Virtue

First things first, how long can you keep those precious eggs before turning them into fluffy bundles of joy? Well, Grandma always said, “Don’t count your eggs before they hatch,” but in reality, you’ve got about 7-10 days max to play the waiting game. Anything beyond that, and your chances of a successful hatch start cracking.

Egg Storage 101: No Fridge Required

Now, where do you keep those eggs while you’re on egg-cubation standby? Forget fancy egg holders and high-tech fridges—just find a cool, dry place. Grandma’s pantry was the go-to spot. No need for temperature control or fancy humidity settings, just a cozy corner away from direct sunlight.

Temperature Tales: The Goldilocks Zone for Eggs

Remember Goldilocks and the three bears? Well, eggs are no different; they’ve got their own comfort zone. Chicken eggs love a toasty 99.5°F, while ducks and turkeys prefer it slightly warmer at 100.5°F . A good rule of thumb is don’t go below 99°F or above 102°F.

If you have an old outside mercury thermometer, you could use that. I chose the  cheapest digital thermometers on Amazon that I could find. I wouldn’t use these for say rare eggs, but for your average barnyard mixed eggs they do pretty well.  As you can see from the image below, they are close but not completely accurate. We are working on getting them to 99’ish range. I’ve covered the box with a towel and small blanket.

Goldilocks Zone for Eggs

DIY Incubation Station: Cardboard Box

Now, let’s talk about the star of our show—the cardboard box incubator! Imagine your grandma’s wisdom packed into a simple setup. Grab a sturdy cardboard box, place a lightbulb inside, and voila! You’ve got the cozy incubation station ready to roll.

Humidity Woes and Tissue Triumphs

Ah, the tricky part—humidity. Our cardboard wonder might need a little help in this department. If things get too dry, simply toss a damp towel or sponge in there. If it’s a bit too humid, crack the lid open for a breath of fresh air. Grandma’s advice? A sprinkle of common sense works wonders.

Turning the Eggs

I’m using an automatic egg turner because I already had it in the shed. If you don’t have one don’t fret! Grandma would hand turn each egg by marking opposite sides of the egg with an X and an O. Then two or three times a day turn the eggs. For example the first time turn them all so the X’s are facing up, then when you go to turn them the next time, you’d face all of the O’s up!

The Waiting Game: Nesting and Nurturing

While waiting for the magic to happen, channel your inner farmer and talk to your eggs. Sing them a tune, share your day, or read them a bedtime story. They might not understand, but it’ll make you feel more connected, and who knows, it might just boost their hatchability!

In conclusion, incubating eggs like our grandparents did is a delightful journey into the simple joys of life. Forget the gadgets and gizmos; all you need is a cardboard box, a light, something to cover the box with and a sprinkle of patience. So, roll up your sleeves, dust off that old box, and get ready to hatch some memories the good old-fashioned way. Happy hatching, egg enthusiasts! 🐣✨

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