Snail farming is a very simple and rewarding business to venture into. Snail meat has many nutrients; it is rich in vitamin A, high in protein and low in fat. For health reasons so many people now prefer snail meat to beef, pork, livestock etc. This has resulted in the increase in snail price. Snail farming is slow but a very sure way of making money. It will take a year to start making profits.
The major producers of snail globally is France. Start snail farming today and become a millionaire tomorrow.
BENEFITS OF SNAIL FARMING
Snails reproduce very fast in large numbers. They are hermaphrodites in nature that is why the reproduce quickly. One snail can lay between 80 to 100 eggs, 6 times in a year.
They are a good source of income. One sizeable snail can be sold for #400.
THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE STARTING SNAIL FARMING
Since they are high in reproduction then their breeding will depend to a large extent on their housing (pens) type.
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Other things to consider are the
- health of the shell,
- the location,
- species and
- the means of transporting them to the farm from their place of purchase.
- Lastly, the availability of funds for snail farming
The breeders should be between 12-24 months old and snails from the wild are advisable for a start since they have not undergone stress. They are not in contact with snail trails from other snails in the farm that can reduce their immunity and fertility. Also, do not use snails bought from the market because they have undergone so many stress and strain.
Snails are very easy to feed; they feed on organic and toxic food. There are concentrates now for the feeding of snail but it is much more economical to feed them with natural food. These includes, fruits especially watermelon, banana, carrot, pawpaw, cucumber and vegetables such as cabbage, lettuce, pumpkin leaves etc.
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Snails don’t like hairy or waxy food. It is important to feed them with different food substrate for their optimum development. It is also important to know how to ration their food; the young snails will feed on juicy food while the adults feed on hard food.
Snails feed on leaves, vegetables, tubers, household/industrial waste etc. These things can be sourced for around us, especially the fruits and leaves can be gotten from fruits and vegetable markets, bushes, houses etc
Snail Farming Business in nigeria
There are very many snail species but the most commercially viable ones are:
Achatina fulica: this giant land snail is large and of air breathing specie. They are the smallest in body size when compared to other species for snail farming in Nigeria. The shell is reddish brown in colour with light yellowish vertical strips. Their colour varies in regards to their diet and environment. The commonest colour is coffee brown.
Achatina achatina: their common name is Giant Ghana snail; they are known as the land snail and are said to originate from Nigeria and spread to countriies like Ghana and Liberia, their shell length can reach 200mm and 100mm in diameter. The colour of their shell is silver brown and are sometimes ovate.
Achatina marginata: their common name is the Giant West African Snail, it is also a specie of air breathing tropical land snail. They can grow up to 20cm in length and may live for more than 10years.
For a commercial purpose, Achatina achatina is best to farm because they grow very big and are known to be the biggest snail specie in the world.
HOW TO IDENTIFY THE THREE SPECIES
Achatina achatina are yellow black with a pointed tip. Marginata has both yellow and black bands but are very faint with a roundish and pinkish tip. Most garden snails are fulica.
As already said the success or failure of snail farming business depends to a large extent on the availability of space. Snail density (population) affects the growth and the breeding capacity. Snails that are averagely stocked breeds well because the can easily discover matching mates to choose from.
Snails that are densely populated grows slowly even with abundant food and their mortality rate will be equally high because diseases can easily break out which can easily be transferred or spread, and will develop into smaller adults, laying few clutches of eggs.
CALCIUM IN SNAIL FARMING
It is very important to feed snails with calcium; the absence of it will slow down their growth rate. They will become thinner or smallish in size. Position a container of calcium in your pens for the snails to feed on whenever they desire it.
Cabbage back is a good source of calcium it contains essential minerals (elements) that build snails up. Another good source of calcium is the broken fragments of limestone, which one can be found in livestock shop.
When snails lack calcium the shell will crack and they will try to force themselves out from the cracked area in the process they hang and die. That is why the importance of calcium cannot be overemphasized.
HOW MUCH IS NEEDED TO START SNAIL FARMING
You may not necessary buy the stock just walk into your backyard at night if you have bushes around, you will definitely find snails but it will depend on the type that is prevalent in your location. About 200 mature snails is enough to start, that number can be laid by 10 breeders. You can do ‘banking’ that is buy mature snails of about 4-5 months and rear them for sale after which you restock again.
As we all know snail is hermaphrodites in nature but it takes two snails to breed. When two snails mate of different sizes the bigger one will be the one to carry the eggs, once they have already mated, they will keep producing eggs in multiple clutches in sets. A snail can lay eggs in clutches severally months apart thereby giving the young snails greater chance to survive.
From egg to table takes about 6-7 months when farmed properly because they don’t go into dormancy like the forest snail does. The time they will have used to go into dormancy is used for growth while that of the forest matures for about 2years
The middle of raining season (june-october) is ideal for snail rearing.
Snails bury their eggs in the soil so you have to deep your hands into the soil, search and remove them, then put them in the hatchery within 2-3 weeks they will hatch under good condition (23-25 Celcuis and 85% humidity).
Sexual maturity in Giant African Snails is between 6-16months depending on these 3 factors; feeding, calcium intake and their existing environmental conditions.
BUILDING OF SNAIL PENS
Build snail pens away from the direction of the wind because wind increases the rate of moisture lost in snails thereby making them dehydrate. To reduce the volume of breeze entering the pens plant trees around example plantain plant, moringa trees etc.
Burn the soil with fire or pour used engine oil on the soil, spread thick cellophane on it before building on top after placing the soil.
Or you do it this way dig into the soil the area you want to use, seal the bottom from pests/ borrowers, and then fill the pit with substrate a little above ground layer. To protect against flying insects use a layer of mosquito or window net with chicken wire to prevent insects from entering the pens.
Construct your pens in view of the segment for adult, where the hatched snails will be put and empty pens for hatching.
The best form of snail rearing is the open ranch system. But snail can be teared any way even in enclosed areas.
Snail habitat is the soil as such the best soil for rearing snail is sandy-loam, acidic soil should be avoided because snail eats substrate from the ground, drink water and lay eggs on the ground. Avoid using a waterlog area too as this is not good for the well being of the snail. If you give snail good treatment you will have the best form of snails.
HOW TO CONTROL PEST AND DISEASES IN SNAIL REARING
The specie that carries pest and diseases most are the Achatina fulica, so you have to prevent rats from entering into the pens. Ants are a major problem in snail farming to prevent them plant trees such as marigold, basil others are coffee grounds, citrus peels etc.
Apply insects’ powder around the outer area of the pens to tackle crawling insect example Rambo powder etc. You can also pour used engine oil too.
Locate hotels, fast food joints, road sellers, bars, restaurants, individuals, friends and open market and sell your snails. You can even prepare them as frozen snails and sell them just as ice fish is done, high class people in the society will buy from you because you would have saved them the time to prepare them.
You can even roast or fry them to sell by yourself this way you will make more money than selling them in bulk. At most you can export snails as escargot (already prepared snails) and make huge profits.
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