It has been discovered that one of the mistakes that have cost many snail farmers their businesses is believing that snails can eat anything. The right Snail feed for your snail farming business is an essential practice of snail farming that needs the highest priority, as its one of the major factors that influence the following:
- 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
Meanwhile, snail feeding varies with Snail Species, but our focus is on the Archachatina Marginata (we are glad to be of help if you are still having challenges identifying the specie of snail ideal for sustainable snail farming).
The Archachatina Marginata (or AM species for short) are herbivores; meaning they feed majorly on plants. Snails may become cannibals if left unfed for some days and they can start to eat one another. Snail diets range from carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and even to water.
Snails drink water because it refreshes them. A major important mineral is calcium; which helps in their shell formation and egg production.
Incase you are thinking of what snail food to feed your snails? Or perhaps you are asking, What is the essential food for snails, or What do snails eat and drink? Then you are at the right place because below is the formula to make your own feed for your snails:
Groundnut cake (10kg)
Soy bean meal (25kg)
Fish meal (4kg)
Wheat offal (16kg)
Palm kernel cake (4.2kg)
Oyster shell (8.05kg)
Bone meal (1.2kg)
Premix vitamins & minerals (0.25kg)
Total = 100 (Kg)
Other things you should know about Snail Feeding (Snail Farming Business Guide)
Feeding activity for snails depend on the weather, and snails may not necessarily eat every day. Wet season (or irrigation) encourage feeding since the moisture makes it easier for the snails to move about.
Generally, Snails are nocturnal animals. This means that they are primarily active at night.
They look for food during the night or in the very early morning hours. When looking for food, they use their powerful sense of smell.
Snails are vegetarian and they can eat a wide variety of foods: vegetables, fungi, tubers, algae, and fruits form part of the essential food for snails.
Young snails can eat about twice as much feed as mature snails, and they prefer soft leaves and shoots.
Snails eat solid food by scraping or cutting it away with their radula (a part of snail anatomy used to chew up food) before the food enters the oesophagus.
Snails do not possess any set of teeth like mammals do. Instead, snails possess specialized food processing organ, common to all molluscs.
They eat using a radula, a rasping, tongue-like organ, covered with thousands of tiny tooth-like protrusions called denticles.
You can also plant some plants as snail food and shelter for your snails using the guide below:
Plant the food and shelter plants
You can begin to plant the snail food and shelter plants. Remember that you should use
• plants that grow well where you live
• plants that last a long time
• plants that snails like
Some Plants for Snail Feed (Snail Food)
(1) Rape Plant
Rape plant is one of many kinds of smooth – leaved cabbage. It grows from seed and lasts a number of months. Rape plant is the best snail feed plant for Helix snails. Many of the other kinds of smooth- leaved cabbage also make good food plants for snails
(2) African Spinach (Amaranthus)
This green leafy vegetable is a good snail feed plant for young Achatina and Archachatina snails. However, if you plant African spinach for your snails, they will need other kinds of food plants as well.
(3) Papaya (Paw-Paw) Tree
You have already been told that snails can be given food to eat other than the food plants that you have planted in the pen. The tender green leaves and cut – up fruit of the papaya tree are very good for Achatina and Archachatina snails. However, the papaya should not be planted inside the pen.
(4) Horse Radish
Horse – radish is a good food and shelter plant for young Helix snails. However, when they are older they will need other kinds of food plants as well.
(5) Leaf Beet
Leaf beet grows well from seed and lives for one year. It can be used with Helix snails for both food and for shelter. As a food plant alone it is not the best and you will have to give your snails other food plants as well.
However, as a shelter plant it is very good for Helix snails. These snails lay eggs under the beet plants and find shelter around the roots in cold weather.
Burdock grows from seed and lives for more than a year. It grows very slowly and you should plant it as soon as you can so that it can grow big enough for your snails. However, once it has grown it makes a good food and shelter plant for almost any kind of snail.
(7) Banana and Loofah
Banana and loofah plants together provide both food and shelter for Achatina and Archachatina snails. Ripe bananas can be cut up and fed to the snails and they can use the loofah plant for food and for shelter. However, your snails will need other food plants as well.
Plantago grows well from seed and lasts about two years. It is the best shelter plant for Helix snails.
Asparagus lives for many years and it is a good shelter plant for young Achatina and Archachatina snails. However, it is not good for older snails because they are too heavy for asparagus plants.
When are the plants big enough for food and for shelter?
1. The food plants must be big enough to feed your snails and the shelter plants tall enough to cover them and to protect them from the sun.
2. Depending on the kind of snails that you are raising, most plants will be big enough after they have been growing for about five to six weeks or when they have reached a height of 10 to 20 centimetres.
Plants will grow to a height of 10 to 20 cm.
3. When you are sure that the plants are big enough to provide food and shelter, you can begin to collect the snails and put them into the pen.
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