Snail farming is one of the most lucrative business/farming in the agricultural sector.
I as a farmer and agriculturist can testify to the magnificent income this little and slow creature known as snail can incur to Farmers.
initially in my early days of farming, I didn’t see the lucrative money making opportunity behind the rearing of snail until I ventured into it and I can testify to the goodness of it.
For this reason, I outlined the total tips/guides on how to start snail farming and everything you need to know about the slow creature called snail.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What is snail
Types of snail
How long does it take to grow
How Does it reproduce
How many times does it lay eggs
How long does it’s egg take to hatch
How much does it cost to
set up a snail farm
How to feed it/snail feed
Advantages of snail farming
WHAT IS SNAIL
Snail is a small and slow animal that serves as food, it is very nutritional and on high demand as food in many African Nations and almost in the whole world. In some European Nations and America, snail is used as pet.
TYPES OF SNAIL
Snail is made up of many types, some are not very suitable for farming/Agriculture.
Here are the list of snail types and their details below.
THE Giant African Land Snail – Achatina fulica
The Giant African Snail is a 20cm long snail native to Africa, it is one of the largest snail species. It is the best for snail rearing/Farming in my own observation because of it’s massive/huge size when it is fully grown and it’s reproductive rate is very high. In some places, it is considered an invasive animal because of its high reproduction rate and the high appetite for crops and vegetables,that’s why some people regard it as pest.
The Garden Snail – Helix aspersa
This is a small species with a height up to 1.3 inches and a particular shell design that distinguishes it from other species. They are native to the Mediterranean region, Western Europe, part of Asia etc.
In my opinion, this type is not that good for business. ( this is just my opinion, not a general assertion).
Roman Snail – Helix pomatia
The Roman snail has a beautiful shell that it is almost a third of its total weight.
Originally native to Europe, it is found in most of the world now. It inhabits in temperate forests with humid temperatures but scanty rainfall.
In this write-up,I will be focusing on the first specie of snail I mentioned above (Achantina) which is the snail I currently rear in my farm and which has brought me a huge profit and opened my eyes to the huge profit in snail farming business.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GROW SNAILS
The next question you will ask is “how long does it take/require to breed this type of snail “The African Giant Snail” well depends on many things, like how you feed them and the nature of their habitat, ( wether condition and type of sand where they are). In a good condition with good feeding.
The African Giant snail do take between 6 months to 1 year before they are fully grown to sell or eat.
To check if they are matured enough, check the brim of the shell, if the brim of the snail is thicker and harder than other parts of the shell it means the snail is good to go to the market.
NOTE – some snail takes time to mature, hence all of them won’t mature at the same time.
HOW DOES SNAIL REPRODUCE
Snail is a very interesting creature to study, about how they reproduce, its reproduction process is very unusual and interesting why? because snail is a hermaphrodite.
Snail has two sex organs of male and female in them, one snail may serve as a male today, and the next time, it serve as a female, hence both snails that are fertilizing will lay eggs.
Snail reproductive organs are on the bottom of their body and close to the front, this is to improve their abilities to mate. At the end of the mating, both snails will fertilize the eggs in the other, so both of them will deliver eggs.
A snail can carry up to 100 eggs at a time.
Once the fertilization is completed, eggs will grow inside the snail, until they are ready to be delivered.
Snails lay their eggs in the soil and bury them into separate places inside a small hole of about 1 inches deep in the soil in a cool place.
HOW MANY TIMES DOES SNAIL LAY EGGS
Snail do reproduce/lay eggs once in a month and at an average of 100 eggs.
this is one of the reasons snail more profitable and huge.
People also refer to snail as pest because it can lay many eggs and hatch and finish up any vegetable around, if they are not controlled!.
In my observation and from research, snail eggs takes 2 to 4 weeks to hatch.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO SET UP A SNAIL FARM
Based on my experience and research, setting up a snail farm is very easy and more economical compared to other live stock farming like poultry, fish rearing and pig rearing etc. this question depends on the size of the snail farm you want to establish, I will group the potential cost into 3 classes, small, medium and large classes.
For a small snail farm, you would need a capital of about $50 to $100. I classify small snail farm on about 1,000 to 10,000 snails.
For a medium snail farm, you would need a capital of about $500 or more. a medium size farm should be about 20,000 to 100,000 snails.
For Large snail farm, you would need a capital of about more than $2000 to start, with about more than 100,000 snails.
Note – my estimation might not be totally correct, based on some factors like buying or renting of land and other facilities etc.
HOW TO FEED IT/SNAIL FOOD
Unlike other live stock farming, snail is the most inexpensive amongst them, although there are various snail feeds out there in the market and various shops and supermarkets, as a local farmer and a beginner with lower income, you can choose to feed and groom you snail with
Coco-yam leaves, pawpaw leaves, okra leaves, cassava leaves, eggplant leaves, cabbage and lettuce leaves.
Fruits: fruits like Mango, eggplant, pawpaw, banana, tomatoes, oil palm fruits, pears. and cucumber are advisable.
CONDITION TO GROW SNAILS
Talking about the condition that is suitable for snails, they don’t require any type of sand, try to put for them a sand that is very rich in nutrition/ mineral ,this is because they get nutrients by sucking the ones in the sand which they use to build up themselves and grow shells.
Also they are highly dehydrated always, so they require more water as huge as possible,so as to grow healthy and lack of water can make them go into hibernation, let the sand in which they are always be wet, but not so wet to wash the nutrients in the sand out.
Because of their high dehydrated body, try to keep the farm out of reach of wind, to avoid dehydrating them and also build the place you keep them very well and guard it with Barb wire, so as to stop the invasion of predators like Fowl, Geese, Snake, Ants etc.
HOW PROFITABLE IS SNAIL FARM
The next question you might be wondering is ” how profitable is snail farming?” ok! let me take you on there!.
I started my snail farm on on February 2018 on a small scale, I and by November to December, I was able to make 4 times the Money I invested, why because during dry seasons and festival periods like Christmas, It is always on high demand, many people prefer it to red meat, maybe because of it’s unique taste or nutrients.
It was so easy and less economical and less offensive in the case of it’s smell, No! nothing like that, unlike poultry and pig, goat that the waste product do smell, snails don’t smell!. Another one is you can feed them with leaves and fruits, and that’s all, less spending on feeds.
ADVANTAGES OF SNAIL FARMING
it is more economical to manage as it doesn’t always require you to buy feed.
It can reproduce more quickly and in a very large number,thereby multiplying your profit.
It can be started with a low budget and grow in a short while.
It doesn’t require large environment ( land ) to start.
It is easy to manage and does not pollute the air with foul smell.
Snail farming is a good business that is easy and quick to make money from and be smiling at the bank in a short while.