Snail farming business is a goldmine for a steady stream of income, but way too many of us have not discovered how profitable this slow-moving creature can be to its farmer.
Snail Farming is Lucrative only if you have the right knowledge to succeed in the business. After reading this post, you will have enough knowledge on how to start a snail farming business.
As our population becomes more interested in healthier living, snails have been found to fill in perfectly as a nutritional favorite.
Snails contain almost all the amino acids needed by the body and most of its by-products are used for cosmetics and medicines. The low-fat content and low cholesterol level of snails, make snail meat a good antidote for cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, cardiac arrest, and stroke.
Apart from the great taste and health benefits of snails, many people like to keep them for keepsakes as pets. Snail shells could also be used for ornamental purposes or ground and used to replace the bone meal and oyster shell in animal and livestock feed.
The same snails that some people raise or gather as food are also agricultural pests that cause serious crop damage. For this reason, countries like the USA and Australia have banned the importation of live snails.
Even at that, snails can still be processed and exported to European countries or to North America, especially to the USA, which imports hundreds of millions of US dollars’ worth of snail meat annually.
Other important markets are Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Canada, Japan, Sweden, Austria, and the Netherlands. However, you need to obtain an export license from your country before you can export snails to other countries.
What Snails are suitable for Snail Farming?
Achatina is a genus of medium-sized to very large, air-breathing, tropical land snails, terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusks in the family Achatinidae. There are a lot of species of Achatinidae in Sub-Saharan Africa. Some species are kept for tourist attraction due to their size and colorful shells.
For the purposes of snail farming however, we will concern ourselves with only the three species of that genus that is commercially viable, marketable, and of course profitable. They are Achatina achatina, Achatina marginata and finally, Achatina fulica.
Factors to Consider When Starting a Snail Farm
1. Site Selection
Starting a venture in snail farming requires space. Your backyard, indoors or open-lands can all be used depending on the scale.
The soil is a major part of a snail’s habitat. Soil composition, water content, and texture are important factors to consider in site selection.
The soil should be humus or loamy that can support vegetable growth. It must be rich in organic matter and not water-logged or acidic.
If your snailery is too wet or water-logged, it would encourage the development of harmful bacteria and fungi. The site should have a flat topography (flat land surface), with adequate shade.
Snails do good in environments which provide cover, moisture, and food. They will, however, do great in one that closely mimics their natural habitat.
2. Climatic factors
Snails are easily dehydrated, and wind increases the rate of moisture loss in snail which in turn, leads to dryness for the animal.
To prevent snails from drying out, snaileries (snail house) should be situated in sites that are protected from the wind. Also, the temperature and humidity in the area should be moderate.
3. Construct a Snail Housing (Snailery)
The type and dimensions of your snailery depend, largely on the snail growing system you choose, and on the number of snails you intend to produce.
The age of snail, temperature, location, weather, and flooding vulnerability are all factors to consider.
Generally, your snailery must be spacious, well protected from insects and predators, easily accessible for carrying out management activities and prevent snails from escaping.
4. Where to Get Snails
Snails can be picked from nearby bushes after a rainy day (especially at night when they come out to feed).
Snails can also be gotten from the bush using this technique; clear a small area in the bush and spread fruits like plantain, pineapple, banana, or a pawpaw in the cleared area at about 4pm-5pm in the evening.
Come back to the cleared spot when it gets dark (7pm-8pm), and you will pick up snails suitable for farming. This process can be repeated until you are satisfied with the number you have gathered.
An alternative to the method above is to buy giant breeders from existing snail farms or dealers. However, if you are starting with breeders alone, you must make plans for hatching your eggs.
5. Feeds and Feeding of Snails
Snails feed mainly on leaves, fruits, flowers, tubers, and household waste (peels of fruits and tubers like pawpaw, pineapple, yam, and potato).
Plants that have hairy leaves or produce toxic chemicals are avoided by snails. Snail needs a regular supply of calcium and phosphorus for shell formation, good health, and maximum production.
This can be found in calcium carbonate, eggshell, bone meal, oyster shell, etc.
Snails in the forest take up to 2 years to mature, but correctly farmed snails can be ready for sale in 6-8months under a favourable environmental condition and good feed.
As a means of identification, the brim of the shell of a mature snail is usually thicker and harder than other parts of the shell.
When harvesting your snails for sale, do not harvest all the mature ones. Few should be kept for breeding to serve as the base stock.
7. Pests and Disease
Pests that feed on snails include; mice, rats, frogs, crows and domesticated birds such as ducks and turkeys, lizards, snakes, millipedes, and centipedes.
Fungal and bacterial diseases are the only snail diseases that have been identified. This is spread through physical contact by the snails licking slime from each other’s bodies. Some sanitary measures can be taken to prevent the spread of disease in your snail farm.
8. When to Start Snail Farming
From June all the way to October are the best months of the year to start a snail farm. These months have something in common. Yes! Your guess is as good as mine. It is Rain!
Rainfall during these three wettest months drives out Giant African Snails from their period of aestivation in the forests.
This increase in supply during the rainy season makes the price of snails stable in the market, your local fast-food, snail farms and even on your plate.
However, prices usually increase from December to March when snails are in short supplies. During this period, hotels, restaurants, resellers, and other snail lovers will beg you to supply them.
I know you are surprised to see capital appearing as the last object for consideration. The upside of snail farming business is that you can start with almost “any amount”.
Materials needed for snail farming does not cost much. The only thing that may cost you little money is the construction of a snailery or maybe you want to buy feed supplement (limestone, bone meal, etc.).
For a more sophisticated farm, the money needed to start a snail farm should be given consideration.
So that is that about snail farming. Feel free to make good use of the comment boxes below. we would be online to answer as many questions as possible right now!