A chicken incubation system

As Chicken Week here at Pi Towers draws to a close, we are all thinking deep thoughts about roasting temperatures and the very best fillings for omelettes.


The eggs Dennis Hejselbak is working with are not for omelettes.

Dennis, who lives in Denmark, has built a Raspberry Pi-powered incubator, complete with camera. Chicken eggs take about 21 days to hatch, and today is day 11 of the incubation period, so if you keep an eye on the stream on his eggs page, you should be able to watch them hatch in ten days’ time.


When you’re hatching eggs, there are a few variables you’ll need to keep an eye on. There’s heat, which in this incubator is controlled by a light bulb (the box is polystyrene, so it’s well insulated) and an old CPU fan. Dennis needs to make sure the box is humid enough – that’s what the sponges are doing in the picture above, while a hygrometer attached to the Pi checks for humidity levels – and he turns the eggs manually two or three times a day, which is vital for a successful hatch. (He says that he’s hoping to automate the turning for the next batch of eggs he raises in this incubator.) Temperatures and humidity are captured on the live stream (this is a static image: click on the picture for the real stream on Dennis’ website).



Why would you build your own incubator? It’s much cheaper than commercial alternatives; you can add features like that camera; and the satisfaction you get out of building something like this yourself is enormous. This project is well within the grasp of schools: Dennis has made complete build instructions, with all the Python code and wiring schematics you’ll need available. (If you do start an incubator at school, make sure someone has access to the classroom at weekends to turn the eggs three times a day if you haven’t automated turning; chickens do not stop incubating outside school hours.)


Frankly, I’d rather like to start a chicken incubator at Pi Towers, but Emma has already forbidden office dogs, hamsters and anything more highly evolved than brine shrimp, so I’m guessing we may be out of luck.

This marks the end of Chicken Week.



ThePiHut avatar

“Deep thoughts” or “Deep fried thoughts” :)

Yvan T. avatar

“Deep thoughts” first….

THEN deep fried later

Yvan T. avatar

on the same alley:
food for thoughts, the chicken paradox.
Which came first: The chicken or the egg?

You cannot have an egg without a chicken.
You cannot have a chicken without an egg.

so which one was it?

D Buckle avatar

It was the Raspberry Pi, then came the egg which the pi incubated, then came the chicken. Repeat.

Jonas avatar

The right answer is, of course, Chuck Norris!

Lukas avatar

I’m Chuck Norris, I don’t need catchphrases, catchphrases need me.

Lukas avatar

Perhaps an unknown breed of creature breeding with another creature until it forms a new kind of create with an egg laying a chicken. It also would come to my attention that breed may or may not be extinct. In conclusion, The egg came first

Greg avatar

Until day 21 they are schrodingers eggs, are they chicks or not..,

aremvee avatar

Q. Why did the chicken cross the Mobius strip?
A. To stay on the same side

aremvee avatar

Q. Why did the road cross the chicken’s path?

Roger avatar

Q: Why didn’t the quantum chicken cross the road?

A: Because it was already on the other side.

Fester Bestertester avatar

Then of course the Evolutionist’s reply: The Pterodactyl! with a bit of help from a solar flare’s radiation to accelerate the mutation.

The Other Peter Green avatar

Why did the chicken stop in the middle of the road?

It was a Rhode Island Red.

ameyring avatar

In the first picture, it says “are not for omelettes.” Is that a joke or are these specialty eggs? Just curious!

mugurdi avatar

In my opinion, is not a good idea to use light bulb, because the surfaces absorb light depending on the color, there is no way to control the temperature is uniform. It is much better an incandescent resistance.
Do not be surprised they are born deformed, or born with bleeding navel, or who are not born

Rowandro avatar

Projects like this make me love Raspberry Pi just a little more every single day.

Jimmy avatar

Could the crew at Pi Towers have an automated fish tank where the Pi would control temps, feeding times, and lighting ;)

Tim avatar

Chicken Pot pi anyone?

claw corwin avatar

How on earth can you make an omelettes do you make omelettes with a raspberry pi. how is the raspberry pi hooked up to the incubator? where is the raspberry pi in the photo?

Robyn avatar

Or was it a Robin that laid the egg, that hatched a chicken? That sounds like evolution to me….

anonymous avatar

mr. kro0oz.305 has been at the building instructions.. Someone check it out!

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