Snail Farming Best Practices: A Step by Step Guide
Permit me to introduce to you Snail farming by pointing out the two systems generally practiced in the business. We have two systems of snail farming, they are no other than intensive and the extensive systems.
Intensive Snail Farming
In the intensive system, the snails are not allowed to move about freely. In other words, they are being confined to a particular area by restricting their movement (strictly within the confines of their environment).
When planning and executing the intensive system project, the farmer has to be very careful and ensure that all the conditions necessary for the survival of the snails are met.
One of the conditions is provision of adequate ventilation wire gauge and net should be used to cover the sides so that aeration necessarily for the snails survival would be fully enhanced.
Extensive Snail Farming
In the extensive system, the snails are only allowed to move about freely but restricting their movement within an artificially provided environment.
This type of snail farming provides a natural habitat for the snails.
Plants like plantain, banana, cocoyam, watermelon, pumpkin, potato and water leaf are also planted right inside the extensive snail farm. These plants serve as food for the snails and also protect the snails from direct sunlight rays.
It is worthy of note to say that Snails and sun are “enemies” to each other. Once a snail is being heated by the sun, it causes snail dehydration. If a snail finally undergoes dehydration, the snail losses it’s viability. Therefore, the snail will no longer be viable for a period of time. Which means a snail which is supposed to lay eggs in two weeks time will no longer produce even an eggs in three months just because it’s no longer viable.
I have read so many farm articles from so many bloggers who haven’t practiced snail farming yet but derive joy telling people that sandy loam is the best soil for snail farming, but am telling you on a good authority today that sandy loam is good but not the best.
If you keep your snail in sandy loam, with time, they will start dying. You might not even know what is behind their death. The best soil for snail farming still remains peat.
Peat is a soil from decayed organic matters. If you watch the video below, you will see how we’re preparing our land with peat.
Snails survive in only cool and dark environment. What do i even mean by cool and dark? It only means that the place must be as cool and dark as possible. In fact snails grow faster under dark environment than you can imagine.
In extensive system, plants are being cultivated to keep the place cool and dark. In intensive system, dry Plantain or Banana leaves are being used to keep the pen cool and dark as well.
Types Of Snails
We have basically three types of snails in the heliculture business in Nigeria. They are: Achantina Achantina (AA), Achantina Marginata (AM) and Achantina Fulica (AF)
Achantina Achantina (AA)
This type of snail has a significant brown tail. The tail is thinner than that of AM. AA is also longer in length but smaller in size than that of AM. In reality, AA lays from 50 to 300 eggs. AA baby snails do not easily survive because of their nature. Thus the newly hatchlings are very tiny, because of that, they do not just easily survive.
Achantina Marginata (AM)
AM has orange coloured tail. It’s tail is bigger than that of AA. AM is the biggest African Snail in existence. AM currently has more market value than AA. AM survives easily more than AA. The newly hatchlings of AM are big, and can survive under harsh conditions too. In practical terms, AM lays from 6 to 30 eggs.
Note One: Snails lay approximately every two weeks during rainy season.
Soil Treatment for Snails
Termite infestation has been a major source of worry to snail farmers.
But as lucky as you are right now, you were able to be one of those reading this post. Yes, as i was saying; the good news is that you can use New Album: Condemned oil to stop termites coming from surface of the earth by applying it right round the outside walls of the pen.
Note Two: Do not allow condenmed oil to enter inside your snail pen.
Now the question would be how do we stop termites that may come from the underside (underground)?
The answer to the above question is not far fetched as the technique of what we call Soil Excavation is to be employed; this has to to with removal of top soil (top soil is 20 to 30cm from the surface of the soil). After you must have removed the top soil, pour considerable quantity of ash to a particular thickness to raise it to a height and then cover again with the top soil you removed earlier.
By so doing, termites can never penetrate from underground again.
Importance Of Calcium In Snails
Snails feeding on Limestone
Calcium is very important in snail farming because Lack of calcium makes the snails to have broken shells. Lack of calcium also makes the snails to have rough shells. If you don’t give your snails calcium, it will be difficult for them to lay eggs because the calcium the eat helps them to build their eggs.
Snails also get calcium from the soil, but since they’re artificially being confined in the pen, at a particular point, the calcium in the soil will no longer be enough for them.
Symptoms of lack of Calcium in Snails
Therefore it is extremely necessary you provide calcium for them from time to time. We have different sources of calcium; we have the eggshells, bone meal, limestone, snail shell etc.
Calcium sourced from Eggshells remain the best and one should not forget to get them well grounded to obtain maximum results.
Snails are vegetarians and so they eat varieties of fruits and vegetables reasonably. The following foods are highly preferred by the animal;
Watermelon, pineapple, pawpaw, water leaf, cocoyam, bitter leaf, pumpkin, potato, etc.
Management of Snail Diseases
This disease affects most of the African giant land snails. This disease is commonly referred to as Rosy eggs disease and it affect the snail eggs and causes the eggs to turn reddish brown and consequentialy die off. Fungal disease infection can also be spread through physical contact by snails licking slime from one another’s body especially when the stocking density is just high.
To prevent this disease, overstocking should be totally avoided. 25 snails per square meter is recommended.
: Parasites such as a particular fly (Alluaudihella flavicornis). It looks much like the
adult house fly. It lays 20-40 eggs in the snail shell or on the snail. The eggs hatch in about 1 week and the larvae, cream coloured worms feed on the body of the snail or wire mesh and latter pupate in the shell.
The best protection in this case is to cover the pen with Nylon mesh.
: This causes intensinal infection in snails. It affects the snail’s normal growth
You can control this disease by proper Snail Farm Hygiene
: This occurs mostly in overstocked snail farms where snails compete for food. Not only when the snail farm is overstocked, if the food given to the snails isn’t sufficient enough, the snails will still compete for food and the older snails will not allow the younger snails to feed just very well.
If snails are not well fed well, the older snails might begin to feed on the shells of the younger snails in search for calcium.
To control this, ensure the population density is met, sufficient food is given and good hygiene is put in place.
Guest Post by Mr. Mathew odinaka, (M.U. Immaculate Agro Suppliers)
Contact for enquiries: +2347038408983