Snail Rearing Methods You Should Know
Snail farming is precisely one of the profitable farming businesses anyone can do in Nigeria.
Quite frankly, many people venture into snail farming ignorantly in the belief that it is a simple farming business that doesn’t require in-depth understanding. However, snail farming(1) demands expert understanding and if you don’t devote ample time to understand the basics of the business, you may not meet your desired business objective.
This article is an informative content on the best methods you can adapt to make snail rearing a long-term source of substantial income.
As you read this article, you will get to know many of the measures you need to put in place to realize the profit from snail farming.
Source Of Snails
Experienced snail farmers are selective in their source of snails.
Depending on factors (which may include your capital layout and your desired volume of snail production), you may obtain snails from the market or fetch them directly from their natural habitat.
Normally, snails can be found in forests or any bush characterized by adequate loamy or sandy-loamy soil.
Fetching snails from their natural habitat have its own advantages especially if you are starting snail farming on a moderate scale. Some people often claim that snails fetched from their natural habitat [forest] tend to respond faster to their new house while the ones bought from the market may respond slowly when placed in a new environment.
However, most people who intend to maximize snail production prefer to obtain snails from the market. And if you are ready to channel robust capital into snail farming and wouldn’t mind spending big to get snails, you can visit the market and select your desired breed of snail.
The disadvantage of buying snails from the market is that the snails may have lost moisture excessively through exposure to sunlight. And when snails lose moisture in excess, they are certain to experience a reduction in the level of fertility.
If you must source snails from the market for a number of reasons, ensure you obtain the snails from a reliable seller who understands the ins and outs of snail farming.
In reality, a seller who understands the rudiments of snail farming won’t expose snails to sunlight or cause them to lose moisture excessively.
Moreover, such a person will do everything humanly necessary to keep the temperature of the snails at an optimum level. Also when asked to select snails, make sure you pick the ones that have laid eggs.
This is a good idea as the eggs can be used in starting snail farming when finally hatched.
For a low-cost snail farming business, you can always adopt the farming method that entails using the forest as a source of snails. If you would be keen to use this method, follow the instructions highlighted below:
- When you observe that there is a spell of frequent rainfall or probably in the rainy season, go to a nearby bush
- Ensure the bush soil has sufficient loam content
- Then clear a patch of land
- Spread spicy fruits (such as bananas, pawpaw, pineapples or plantains) on the land (Note: It is best you do this in the evening probably around 5 or 6 pm)
- Leave the spot and return there in the night probably around 8 or 9 pm
- On your return, you will find a considerable amount of snails which you can take home for rearing
- To get more snails, continue adopting this method until you have collected the desired amount of snails to get started with snail farming
Snails are of different breeds and some breeds are categorized as terrestrial animals while others live in habitats like freshwater and seas.
Amongst other breeds of snail, the three commonest snail breeds (especially in Nigeria) are:
- Achatina Achatina (alternatively called the “giant African snail’’)
- Achatina Fulica
- Archachatina Marginata (alternatively called “giant West Africa’’)
Owing to its massive reproduction capacity (of 300-500 eggs per clutch three times annually), Achatina Achatina has been described as the most suitable snail breed for rearing purposes, especially in Africa.
Feasibility approaches have proven that not all soil types can be conducive to rearing snails.
The shell of a snail needs sufficient calcium to grow and the snail itself must derive adequate moisture/water for sustenance. In addition, the snail lays its eggs on the soil it lives on and that is why choosing the suitable soil type is a crucial decision an intending snail farmer should make.
Therefore, the basic properties of any suitable soil for snail farming include:
- Absence of acidity
- It must not be waterlogged
- Moderate dryness (i.e. it must not be too dry)
- Low retention of water
Regarding the soil properties highlighted above, experts have chosen loamy soil as the best soil type for rearing snails.
Also, much emphasis has been laid on the disadvantages associated with the use of acidic and clayey soils. For better rearing conditions, it is best to refrain from clay and any soil with acid content.
While housing snails, experienced snail farmers try to adopt methods which can help prevent overcrowding. As implied herein, overcrowding is when too many snails are congested in a relatively small pen.
Therefore, you have to determine the appropriate housing density while keeping your snails in their pen.
In detail, housing density is the number of snails found per square metre of your snail pen. This is very important as it contributes to snails’ ability to grow and reproduce.
If you adopt a suitable housing density for your snails, they will have enough space to grow well and survive comfortably without hurting each other.
Depending on several factors including the size of your snails, you can decide to keep 10 snails per square metre of your snail pen.
Surprisingly, observations have shown that snails tend to behave sulkily when confined to a congested pen. And to prevent cannibalism, it is best to avoid overcrowding of snails at all cost.