Snail rearing density affects the growth and breeding capacity of snails. High-density populations tend to grow slowly, develop into smaller adults, and lay fewer clutches of eggs and fewer eggs per clutch. If the snails are very densely packed, they may not breed at all.
The accumulating slime suppresses reproduction. Other disadvantages of high density are the high rates of parasitism and ease of transmission of diseases.
In terms of snail weight, the recommended density is 1-1.5 kg per m2 (for A. achatina, this would be about 15 to 25 snails per square metre).
It is best to start a snail farm with as low a density as possible. As the farmer becomes more familiar with snail habits and with managing the enterprise, the numbers could be increased.
Brief Introduction to Snail Rearing and Health Benefits of Snail
Breeding snails are put in cages at a density of 200 Petit-Gris or 100 Gros-Gris per m² (i.e. about 4 lb. per square meter), with food and water ad lib., and some pots which are filled with a good soil. Ideally, these boxes are placed in a room which is kept at 20° Celsius (68° F), with a relative humidity of 95%, and a long photoperiod (16L / 8D). But we can also simply use a greenhouse. Snails are hermaphrodites but they have to mate before laying some days later.
When a snail has laid, the pot is placed into an incubator at 20° C and covered. Three weeks later, about 100 new hatched snails appear under the lid.
Usually, we can expect a yield of 70 young snails per breeder for 2 months.
Nursery: Cages with well moistened soil are stocked with less than 2500 young snails per m², in the same “climatic conditions” than breeders. 3 to 4 weeks later, these young snails are brought outdoor.
Outdoor pens: I advise to stock them with no more than 300 Petit-Gris or 150 Gros-Gris per square meter, in order to have a really good growing. We have to protect them against rodents and shrews, for example with a grid in the ground. With a mosquito net as lid we both protect snails against birds and prevent escaping.
|small snail pen for snail rearing||large pen for snail rearing / Fabien Lesaffre – 59560 Comines (France)|
Gathering: some Petit-Gris reach their adulthood 10 to 12 weeks after hatching, a lip has formed on shell (13 to 15 weeks for Gros-Gris). Some days later, we can begin to pick them : do not forget to keep the best specimens for the next breeding season. The last animals are picked 3 months later, about 90% of Petit-Gris have a lip (80% of Gros-Gris).
Hibernation: only future breeders are placed in hibernation, in wooden boxes, well dried, and out of frost.
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Snail farming site otherwise referred to as snail rearing site can be close to ones house, so that one can keep close watch and cater for the snails and also protect them from natural enemies.
Extensive System: This system could be rearing the snail in an enclosed compound/farm area. It could be of any convenient area, but a manageable size of about 5m x 5m is quite ideal.
The area is planted with food shelter plant and fenced round. The fence may be made of or blocks, wood bamboo, slabs wire or nylon mesh, galvanized or metal sheetswoven mats or polythene sheets. The materials to be used will depend on available capital. Flabs should be attached to the tops of the fence to prevent the snails from escaping.
Intensive system: With this system, the snails are managed intensively in terms of food and water supply and other management practices. Intensive system utilizes small space. Examples of intensive housing system are cages (hutch box), fenced pens, trench pens drums or pots an tier for types.
Snail farming also known as snail rearing is the act of rearing snail whether in old tyres, earthen pots, basket, raised wooden, cage, concrete cage and snail pen. Snail meat tastes good and it is also good for the body. It serves as a special delicacy in the diet.
In addition to the high level of protein and iron, snail meat also contains high level of calcium and phosphorus. It is low in fat and cholesterol.
Snail shells are used for the manufacture of the buttons, rings ornament and jewellery. For house decorations a in flower pots, drinking cups. Snails shell remains as fossils and its visceral is used as baits by the fishermen in fish farming.
Research studies have confirmed the usefulness of snails in the treatment of some human diseases as a result of certain substance found in snails. Snail meat is low in sodium, fat and cholesterol, but contains high amount of protein, iron and calcium hence it is useful in the treatment of Aeteriosclerosis, Aneamia, hypertension, high blood pressure and other fat related ailments even found to be useful in curing Asthma and poor eye sight. It helps to reduce haemorrhoids and constipation.
In traditional African medicine, snail meat is used in the preparation of concentration for various cases such as reduction of labour pains and blood loss in a pregnant woman during delivery preparation of love medicine to restore peace between husband and wife among wives in polygamous houses.
Snail farming also known as snail rearing is an advantage to human beings because it has high potential returns and low inputs, that is, feeding materials. Snail farming is easy to combine with other farming activities and it also improves the protein need of human being.
The value of animal protein in human diet is to improves the nutrition and health of most people all over the world. Protein as a food substance is vital for health repairs of worn out tissues and repairs of body tissue. The high cost of other protein sources such as eggs, meat and fish have forced majority of people into utilizing less quantitative protein from cereals and pulses.
For a human being to grow well, balanced diet is needed i.e. the diet must have certain percentage of carbon hydrate, protein, fat and oil, water, minerals, vitamins and fibre.
(Otschoe 1995) comparing the effects of lack of protein in the diet of animal and humans state that “experiment with laboratory animals showed that diets containing low level of protein, or protein of poor quality during gestation (birth) and lactation (milking) causes the production of offspring which are inferior and stunted in growth, they exhibit behavioral abnormalities and have a decreased capacity for learning”.
Snail is a very good source of animal protein for human diet with low capacity intensity and less labour which is the reason why regular consumption of snail meat is recommended for our healthy living.
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