Snails basically feed on fruits like paw-paw both the ripped and the unripe pawpaw. Paw-paw provides the snails with vitamins but it is advisable to remove the leftovers after the day because it attracts insects / predators.
Watermelon is also part of the fruits given to snails both the red (inside) and the green (outside) parts are inclusive and are being enjoyed by snails.
Cucumber is not left out as it is also part of those fruits that snails enjoy most, the fruit provides the snails a lot of calcium, you should be aware that if you are farming your snails for commercial purpose or even for non-commercial purpose, the snails shell tell more of the health status of your snail, meanwhile the shell appears strong and adds weight when enough calcium providing food is given to the snails.
Snails also feed on vegetables like pumpkin but I must warn you that anything that has salt should not be found near your snail pen not even on their foods.
There are two easy to make money in snail business / farming which are:
- Rearing the snails and
- Doing its related business as in buying from farmers and reselling them.
Read Also: Introduction to Snail Farming (Heliculture)
Formulation of Snail Feeds
Aside from basically feeding your snails locally, now you can formulate snail feeds, market online or offline, sell to snail farmers too. Many snail farmers buy feeds as if they are doing poultry farming, therefore you can utilize that opportunity to start formulating snail feeds and sell to them.
See: the feed formulation formulas for snail here, you can also be a re-seller of snails to the final consumers, there are places where you can buy snails at a very cheaper rate and resell them at a mighty price, and it all depends on information. Lolz!! Therefore think and carryout your market survey wisely.
Caring for the Snails
- After getting the shelter ready, you have to make them habitable for the snails.
- Line the pen or tank floor with thick layer of substrate ( soil, small stone or granite e.t.c)
- Spray the tank every other day with water (warm water) to maintain relative level of humidity.
- Change the substrate every week.
- Remove leftovers often, rodents and other small insects that can harm the snails are attracted by the smell of decaying foods
- Clean the snail slime on weekly basis, if you are rearing the snails in tanks or wooden cages
- Handle the snails the care when transferring them
- Feed them regularly
- Avoid feeding them with foods containing salt or sugar
Snail Foods and Feeding
The right Snail feed is an essential practice of snail farming that needs the highest priority, as its one of the major factors that influence:
- The Flesh Size of Your Snails
- How your snails lay eggs
- Shell formation on your snails
- The Taste of Your Snails Meat (the sweeter and healthier their feed is, the better they taste)
- The Survival Rate of Your Snails
The snails should be fed as at when due, if you really want them to do very well. In fact, the quality of your snails will depend on the quality of their feed.
Snails eat a wide variety of food, which could fall into any of these categories: tubers, agricultural by-products, fresh vegetables, fruits, leaves, cereals, fibres, drinks, and concentrates.
Snail Feed Categories (What to Feed Snails)
Leaves and Vegetables:
leaves of paw-paw, cocoyam, banana, sweet potato and cassava. Snails eat a lot of vegetables too. Some of the vegetables include- pumpkin, cabbage, lettuce, okra, water leaf, spinach, garden egg plant, amaranthus and all green vegetables eaten by man.
breadfruit, cucumber, green beans, nectarine melon, peach, plums, paw-paw, banana, plantain, orange, apple, pineapple, grape, tomatoes, ripe pear, avocado and all edible fruits.
Snails also eat tuber crops like yam, sweet potato, coco yam and cassava when cooked.
Agricultural by products – wheat bran, rice bran, corn, soybean, residue bran, palm kernel cake, peel of plantain, banana, fresh maize chaff etc, can also be eaten by snails.
Dried and processed maize, groundnut cake, soybean meal, and sorghum.
Feed supplements like fishmeal and blood meal are also good for snails.
This include poultry waste and feed, fish feed.
Limestone, wood ash, fish meal, bone meal, and chalk. Snails also need a lot of calcium in-take for growth and shell formation. Calcium or mineral supplement can also be derived from ground eggshell, oyster shell, bone meal, or even soil.
Harmful Feeds to Avoid Giving Your Snails
(1) Avoid giving your Snails Salty Foods
Generally, snails survive in an atmosphere that’s cool and with a substantial amount of moisture. Foods with a high salt content will dehydrate your snails, limiting their chances of survival.
(2) Avoid giving your Snails Contaminated Foods
Snails are sensitive to chemicals, especially from plants and vegetables that have been sprayed with pesticides and exposed to poisonous gases from vehicle fumes, they are harmful to your snail’s health.
Ensure you wash your plants and vegetables before giving them to your snails, to disinfect and remove insects that might be hiding in them.
(3) Avoid Starchy Foods
If you’ve been feeding your Snail left-over rice and pasta (spaghetti), then you’ve been doing them more harm than good. Snails find it hard digesting starchy foods as they cause internal blockages in the snail’s digestive system which in turn leads to swelling (bloating) and death of the snails.
(4) Avoid Chlorinated Water
Guess what? This is not a feed, but yes! Snails drink water too, and you must avoid giving them treated water as it is harmful to their health. Ensure your Snail farms’ source of water contains no chlorine.
Tip: (Ensure you give the water to your snails in a flat and grounded container, to keep your snails from drowning and also, to make sure the snails don’t tilt the container).
Why you should Feed your Snails Properly
The essence of feeding the snails is to aid reproduction capacity and increase their size. Therefore, be consistent in feeding. Snails convert feed to body weight when a balanced diet containing protein, vitamin, minerals, calcium carbonate, and phosphate is given to them.
Feed snails as much as they can eat, ensure usable water quantity daily. Agricultural chemicals in form of spray or powder should be avoided, as they are toxic to snails. Avoid salt and salty foods, since snails do not survive high salt intake.
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