Sometimes, intending snail farmers complain that they cannot start their snail farm due to lack of space or financial issues but the truth is that you can make it even with lesser fund than you could imagine.
Before we start listing the types of the snail housing system in this post, this next paragraph is worthy of note.
You should know that the type and dimension of your snail housing depend largely on the snail growing system you choose.
It also depends on the number of snails you intend to produce on your snail farm.
In addition, the age of snail, temperature, location, weather conditions, and flooding vulnerability of your snail farm, are all factors you must consider.
A snail house can also be called a snailery, snail pen, snail habitat or snail housing.
Whichever one you see as you read this article, just know that it means the same thing.
(Car used tyre for snail farming)
- Car tyres can be used for snail farming, you can line up about 4 car used tyres and may repeat into 3 different places, buy point of lay snails (POL): these are snails that are capable of laying eggs like 30pieces of them and place 10 pieces in each car tyre housing basically if you are going for Achatina Achatina snails because it produces about 150 snails each and it goes like 3 rounds in a year.
Now let us do the maths together: 150 x 3 = 450 pieces right? Which means that each snail of the 30 active snails will give you 450 snails every year, the most important thing about snail farming is that it lays and hatches within 23 to 30 days.
- Hutch Boxes Description: Hutch boxes are square or rectangular single or multi-chamber wooden boxes with lids, placed on wooden stilt above the ground at a suitable height for easy handling.
The stilts should be fitted with plastic or metal conical protectors or aprons to prevent vermin (predators) from crawling or climbing up the stilts to attack the snails in the boxes.
In the middle of the lid is an opening covered with wire netting and nylon mesh. The lid should be fitted with a padlock to discourage pilfering. In the floor of the box are few holes through which excess water can drain out. The boxes are filled with sieved black soil to a depth of 18-25cm. The boxes should obviously be well protected from scorching sun or torrential rain.
- Trench Pens: they are dug; there are different types of trench pens which include those that are dug in and those that are dug out. A carpentry work and a bricklaying works are needed and with a pen of 5 x 5 (25 square meters) you can house up to 150 snails if they are still small in size.
Characteristics of a Good Snail Habitat
- 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.
- A good snail housing should be able to protect snails against predators, poachers, and insect infestation. predators feed on young snails whereas poachers steal snails. As for insects, they lay their eggs on the snails: these eggs develop to the larvae stage, and then feed on the snails from inside their shells, thereby causing high snail mortality leading to loss of investment.
- It must be easily accessible for carrying out management activities. Snail housing should be built in such a way that will enable managers to handle snails, place feed, carry out cleaning activities and other tasks.
- The snail housing must prevent snails from escaping. No matter how slow snails can be, they can still wander off through open spaces and invade your house or garden. Therefore, all possible snail escape routes should be tightly closed.
- A snail housing must be well ventilated and provided with adequate shade.
- An adequate snail housing must be able to protect the snails from excessive wind. Wind increases the rate of moisture loss in snail which in turn, leads to dryness for the animal. Planting (fruit) trees around snail pens will help to reduce wind speed and improve the micro-climate. It will also protect the snails from the scorching sun or torrential rain.
- A good snail house must have all the necessary equipment for snail farming.
Read Also: Introduction to Snail Farming (Heliculture)
List of Edible Snails
- Helix Aperta
- Helix lucorum
- Otala punctate
- Acharina fulica
- Theba pisana
- Otala punctate
- Otala lacteal
- Helix pomatia
- Cornu aspersum
- Eobania vermiculata
- Archachatina Marginata
- Achatina Achatina
- Achatina Fulica
|Snail type||Size||Geographical location|
|Achatina fulica||326 mm weight 32 grams||East Africa|
|Iberus alonensis,||30 mm||Spain|
|Otala punctata||35 mm||Spain|
|Cornu aspersum||30 to 45 mm across||France|
|Achatina Achatina||length 200 mm / diameter 100 mm||West Africa|
|Archachatina Marginata||20cm long||Africa|
Perfect humidity is 75 to 95%, climate 60-77 F, temperature 70F. Ideal water content/humidity of 80%, organic matter content of 25 – 40%.
Types of Snail Housing System
As management activities and level of financial inputs differ from one farmer to another, snail housing also differs in size and capacity. Snail housing system can be classified into three categories; intensive, semi-intensive, and extensive.
Intensive snail housing system: This system of snail housing tries to recreate the natural habitat of snails. Plastic tunnel houses, greenhouses, free-range snail pens and buildings with controlled climate fall under this category. This system is usually practiced by farmers who do snail farming business for commercial purposes and occupy large expanse of land.
Mixed, or semi-intensive snail housing system: In this system, egg laying and hatching occur in a controlled environment. The young snails are removed after 6-8 weeks to outside snail house for further development and growth.
Extensive snail housing system: Practiced mostly by small scale farmers and subsistence farmers (mainly for consumption). Snail farming in this system is done using relatively cheap and readily available materials like old car tyres, baskets, old tanks or drums, pots, etc.
The Free-Range Pen for Snails
A free-range pen is a fenced area of land planted with vegetation and short trees that can serve to provide food for the snails and shelter them from the sun, rain, and wind.
Depending on the type of snail housing system adopted by the Snail Farmer, a free-range pen might be fully enclosed or open
How to Construct a Free-Range Pen
- After you must have selected the appropriate site to structure your pen on
- Fence the area based on the number of snails you plan on housing, you can build your fence using a fine chicken wire mesh (we
- suggest this form of fencing because snails don’t like crawling on them, so you’re assured your snails won’t escape) or you can fence
- using bricks and concrete blocks
- The next step is to dig your fence to at least a depth of 20cm to prevent your snails from tunnelling to the ground and escaping
- If you don’t plan on enclosing your pen with a roof, then the height of your fence only needs to be a few inches. On the other hand, if you plan on roofing, consider the height of the highest vegetation or short trees, and build your fence a few inches above it
- You can build your roof using either the chicken wire mesh or any material that will protect your snail from harsh weather conditions and at the same time will not obstruct the growth of your vegetation
- Fill the fenced area with an organically treated loamy soil to an appropriate depth, ensure it’s also loose so your snails can easily dig into them for protection and also for laying eggs
- Then you plant your vegetation and trees.
- To get suggestions on what to plant, check out our post on The Best Type of Feeds to Give Your Snails.
1) This pen is suitable for snail farming on a large scale.
2) The large area gives the snails the advantage of having less contact with each other’s slime trails (An over slimed area is toxic to snail’s growth).
3) It encourages the natural biological cycle of a snail’s growth resulting in a higher production rate.
1) A fully enclosed free-range pen is relatively expensive to construct.
2) It requires more land than the other type of snail houses.
3) It is difficult to locate small snails and eggs.
4) It might be difficult to control a disease outbreak due to the Pen’s size.
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Here are some snail farming books and related resources to guide and assist you further: