Am very sure a lot of us may want to know and analyze how profitable snail farming business or snail rearing is before wanting to venture into the business especial snail farming for beginners or commercial snail farming business. Therefore am going to use my country Nigeria as a case study for the analysis we are going to carryout below.
The analysis can also be applied to your various countries as all you need to do is replace my currency with yours and the value with your rate to get your desired result as it is required to make your snail farming profitable.
With that being said, let us continue with the analysis for snail rearing below….
Therefore, let us analyze below how profitable snail farming business can be in your various countries. If you start a snail farm with 1,000 matured snails and they lay lets say 100 eggs each in a year. Remember that snails can go 3 clusters in a year.
Equals to 100 x 3 = 300 each (that is 300 snails each year) but for the purpose of this, let’s put it at 150 snails per year so that in the worst case scenario that’s what you must get.
Cost of 1,000 snails for breeding = 1,000 x #350 = #350,000 (Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) Nigerian currency.
For 150 snails from 1,000 foundation stock = 150 x 1,000 = 150,000. If after 1 year you decide to sell 100,000 snails out of the 150,000 snails, you will have the total of 100,000 x #100 per snail (Highly reduced price) = #10,000,000 (that is Ten Million Naira). Is that not amazing? And imagine when am very sure you can make much more than this because this analysis is the lowest possible sales one must get.
Read Also: Benefits of Snail Farming (Heliculture)
Meanwhile, this is a rough projection which is obtainable in a good management practices and I think with this little summary, you can now testify that truly snail farming business is profitable and may also want to venture into it and join the moving train to make more money because I know you can do this.
(Image of a snail pen, snail house, snail housing, snailery or any other name that applies).
There are 4 key factors to animal farming;
- Feeds and feeding techniques
- Environment & Management
First, we need to understand what snails are like:
- They’re omnivorous – feed on plants and animals
- They are almost defenceless, thus adapt to night lifestyle (nocturnal)
- They stay within the shell until the weather is cool and humid
- They’re also active when it rains – because it’s cool and humid as well
- They eat and play around during the night hours. Thus feeding is usually once a day.
The importance of these are:
- Their feeding is usually limited to late in the evening/night hour
- When the weather is harsh (dry, hot), they hibernate or aestivate (sealing off with the off-white Epiphargm. When you see the “sealing mat” on the ‘face”, you know something is wrong – this could be the weather, pest irritation, or dryness
Snail Farming (Host Snail)
Snails are hermaphrodites – both sexes in 1 snail, though they cross-fertilize
Snail pen or housing is of utmost importance because it protects them from harm, poor weather condition. The housing must also protect them from pests and predators. You can use virtually anything to restrict their movement. However, they must be comfortable in a cool and moist environment that is stress free.
Snails of interest to me are the African Giant Snails:
1) Achatina Achatina
2) Achatina Fulica (both with relatively pointed apex, but different shell pattern)
3) Achachatina Marginata – curved apex. They are the biggest species of land Snails in Africa, and one of the best species in the world
Achatina Achatina lays 80-350 eggs at once, one to three times in a year
Achatina Fulica lays 100-400 eggs about six times in a year
Achachatina Marginata lays just 6-14 eggs four times in a year
(above are personal findings)
Snail has weak (chitinous) teeth which they use to rasp on food mats – leaves, fruits, softened meat. Just like babes, they love tasty food mats that are soft + less fibrous. Thus they love ripe succulent fruits more e.g. pawpaw, citrus, melon (watermelon).
You can try them on your tasty (well seasoned) cooked food – the smell attracts them and the taste makes them almost lose control. Really, your cooked seasoned spaghetti, fried garnished egg are also food to them. Actually they can eat anything that you can eat, so far it’s soft, well scented and tasty.
However, you’ll like to feed them with rich, economic feed (feed concentrate or feed combinations) that encourages fast growth. I actually formulate feed (using similar ingredients to poultry feed richer though) to feed them.
In doing such, you must know that changing their feed (from one type to the other) must be gradual and systematically done – otherwise your snails will rush at the good feed and thereafter start dying.
They should be supplied with potable water and be sure they drink it. This is better seen when you serve them with tasty drinks – tea, soft drinks. They can be fed with almost anything, especially what babies would love. However, they hardly eat grass.
When feeding them, select your feed items in such a way that you have:
– Soft (and tasty – if possible)
– Less fibrous (leaves)
5 Steps To Starting A Snail Farm
Below are the five basic steps you need to follow to start a profitable snail farming business:
Step 1 – Decide which species of snail to farm.
When creating a snail farm, you’ll have to use a single species of snail. Research has shown that snail species such as Achatina achatina are the best for warm climate regions like Africa.
Step 2 – Set-up your farmland for housing.
Your snail housing must have enough space for your snails to graze freely. Overcrowding your snailery impedes the development of snails and therefore should be avoided. A well-spaced snail housing reduces the risk of disease outbreak caused by overcrowding.
Snails are good at escaping from where they are kept, so you should endeavour to construct escape proof housing. You can use a pen house that will be spacious and accessible with a soil depth of 10 inches and trees around it.
Step 3 – Purchase your snails
If you want to start a snail farm, you’ll need to get snails. After setting-up proper housing and farmland for the snails, it’s time to buy some fresh quality snails from the market or any farm. It’s always best to be able to examine the snails before you buy them so that you know they are healthy.
When you first start your snail farm, you’ll want to get healthy, fully grown snails that will lay eggs and help populate your farm. Look at the shell of the snail. If there is a lip, that means they are a fully grown snail.
Read Also: Introduction to Snail Farming (Heliculture)
Step 4 – Feeding and rearing of the snails
Snails are vegetarians and can be fed with wide varieties of foods such as cabbage, cucumber, mango, banana, eggplant, pear, tomato and paw-paw, cassava, okra leaves or lettuce. However, you can as well feed snails with pineapple, banana or paw paw.
Mating and laying eggs are a vital part of snail farming. Typically, mating occurs during spring and summer. As hermaphrodites, snails can fertilize each other as soon as they are mature enough. In order for the egg laying to go over smoothly, you should use high-quality soil with the right temperature and humidity.
Step 5 – Harvesting and selling of the snails
It is not economically wise to harvest your snails before it’s maturity, it has to be mature before harvesting. Do not harvest all the matured snails at once to sell in the market. It is important to keep few for breeding and to serve as base stock for your snail farm.
Snail has good market demand and price. You can easily sell the snails in the local market. Snail meat consuming rate is growing very fast around the globe. So, exporting in the international market can make you more money.
Proper Snail Management Strategies
To have a good look at their management, let’s understand their life cycle
Snail Eggs (egg look like lizard eggs) hatch into Snail Hatchlings within
- Achachatina Marginata: 2 – 4 weeks about 16-18mm when the weather is good.
- Achatina Fulica: 2 weeks – about 4mm in diameter
- Achatina Achatina: 3 weeks – about 8mm (average diameter)
(from personal observations)
They are hermaphrodites, so all supposed to lay – thus geometric multiplication
They get matured when their shell-turns (whorls) are:
- Achachatina Marginata: 5¼ – laying should start thereafter
- Achatina Achatina: 6¼ whorls
- Achatina Fulica: 6¼
Read Also: Major Disadvantages of Snail Farming
Thus, you can actually select snails of the same type (2 upward) to start your farming. When farming commercially, you have to select your stock type – the species of choice.
Your system of farming – are you using the paddock system or cage system
The feed and feeding pattern should be known whether concentrate or leaves/fruit or other types (as in the slides).
Your Snails may reach market weight (when well managed) at 4-7 months, depending on feed and other factors earlier outlined
Ensure that you manage the housing (good hygiene + good feeding).
Read Also: How to Choose a Snail Farming System
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