SNAIL FARMINGINTRODUCTION TO SNAIL FARMING 101
SNAIL FARMINGINTRODUCTION TO SNAIL FARMING
INTRODUCTION TO SNAIL FARMING
The name Snails applies to a group of invertebrate animals known as mollusk, which belongs to the class Gastropoda. The existence of snails dates back to prehistoric throughout the third year of man’s evolution. The farming of snails could be termed Achanitinculture and Heliculture. Snail meat has been consumed by humans worldwide since prehistoric times. It is high in protein (12-16%) and iron (45-50 mg/kg), low in fat, and contains almost all the amino acids needed by humans.
COMMON NATIVE NAMES OF LAND SNAIL
– Snails (English), Igbin (Yoruba), Ejuna (Ibo), Osi (Ijaw), Dodokodi (Hausa
Snail rearing is a good source of income and capital for setting up is relatively low compared to other livestock. Snails is noiseless, easy to handle and not aggressive.
Snail Farming does not constitute any nuisance to the environment, the droppings are general firm, odorless, easily cleared and cleansed.
Calcium and iron from snail meat contribute immensely to the
building of good bones especially for baby.
The low fat content and low cholesterol level makes snail meat a good antidote for vascular disease such as Heart attack, cardiac arrest, hypertension and stroke.
A relatively small land space is required to raise thousands of
snails when intensively managed
Archachatina Marginata (AM)
Achatina Achatina (AA)
Achatina Fulica (AF)
Archachatina Marginata (AM)
It is peculiar to West Africa and it’s popularly known as the giant African snail. It is the largest of all the snail specie. They can grow up to 20cm long in size and can produce up to 8 to 12 eggs in a single clutch and they can produce 2 to 3 clutches in a year and can live up to 10 years. It usually takes between 21 to 32 large size.
In height and 10cm in maximum diameter. The shell has no definite coloration and it is wider at the posterior end compared to others. Matured adult can reach 600-800g and are more adapted to unfavorably climatic condition than Achatina Achatina. The fleshy part is dark Brown in color. It is the biggest of the three specie, in dimension, it can grow up to 20cm in height and maximum diameter
Achatina Achatina (AA)
Achatina Achatina (AA) is d 2nd largest in the world and the second most popular o breed in Nigeria and other African countries. One peculiarities of Achatina family is that they lay many eggs. A.A can lay up to 200 to 500 eggs in a single clutch and can lay up to 3 to 4 clutches in a year, it also takes 21 to 32 days for the Achatina Achatina
The mortality rate of this breed is higher than A.Marginata It prefers more humid environment and the shell is broadly ovate with regular conical spine and narrow at the posterior. Average shell length is about 15cm, 20 or 25 is not unheard of. The shell is usually a dark orange with wavy black stripes which cover the length of the shell. The fleshy part (foot) is dark with white patches.
Achatina Fulica (AF): The AF is the 3rd largest and can lay up to 200 to 500 eggs in a clutch and can produce up to 3 to 4 clutches a year. It is the smallest of the breeding type of snail. It is also the third specie used in snail breeding in Nigeria
This commonly called “The Foolish One’ they are the most adapted and widely dispersed of all the Giant African Land Snails. It is of small size. Mature adult weighs BTW 20-35g.The fleshy part could be whitish or dark brown. it has low economic value
Snails adept at escaping from enclosures.
A priority in setting up a productive snail farming venture, it must be constructed
to escape proof housing.
The main factors to consider in site selection are the following:
– Wind speed and direction
– Soil characteristics Safety
– Protecting the snails from diseases
– Predators and poachers
– Temperature and humidity
– Soil characteristics
Snails are cold-blooded; they thrive best in areas with moderate temperatures and high humidity. In West Africa, temperatures in the areas where most edible species are found do not fluctuate greatly. However, there are significant fluctuations in air humidity, which have a pronounced effect on the snail species dealt with in this publication. In their natural surroundings, snails go into dormancy during the dry season Relative air humidity should not be near saturation, because it would encourage the development of harmful bacteria and fungi. In outdoor situations, it is clearly impossible to control climatic factors.
However, the magnitude of temperature and humidity fluctuations is reduced in areas of relatively undisturbed forest or fairly dense vegetation cover. Such sites should be preferred to open grassland or farmland areas. Obviously, snails can be reared in a completely controlled, indoor environment, but at a price. Whether the investment will be profitable depends on one’s financial resources, local production costs per kg snail meat, and marketing options
Wind accelerates moisture loss in snails. To prevent snails from drying out, snaileries should be situated in sites that are protected from the wind. Downhill sites are usually the most suitable, preferably those with good tree cover to reduce wind impact. Planting (fruit) trees around snail pens will help to reduce wind speed and improve the micro- climate. It will also protect the snails from scorching sun or torrential rain
Soil is a major part of a snail’s habitat. Soil composition, water content and texture are important factors to consider in site selection. The snail’s shell is made up mainly of calcium derived from the soil and from feed. Snails derive most of their water requirements from the soil. Snails dig in the soil to lay their eggs and to rest during the dry season. For all these reasons it is essential that the soil is loose and that its calcium and water content is high. Heavy, clayey soil that becomes waterlogged in the rainy season and compacts during the dry season is undesirable. Very sandy soil is undesirable as well because of its low water holding capacity. Acidic soils should be avoided because acidity would interfere with the development of the snail’s shell. Soils that are too acidic might be neutralized with lime to about pH 7. Snails need damp, not wet, environments. Similarly, rainwater must run off promptly. Snails breathe air and may drown in overly wet surroundings. A soil moisture content of 80% of field capacity is favorable. In the hours of darkness, air humidity over 80% will promote good snail activity and growth. Most snail activity, including feeding, occurs at night, with peak activity taking place 2 to 3 hours after the onset of darkness. The cooler temperature stimulates activity, and the night-time dew helps the snail move easily. Snails like to hide in sheltered places during most of the day
Mixed System of farming
The Extensive system otherwise known as free range. Here the snails are not provided with feeds care for the snails is minimal. They are fenced enclosures up to several meters in size can be used. The fencing materials can be close-meshed wire netting. This enclosures normally have plants for food and system. This system supports snails just as its natural habitat just like we have in the rain forest belt of Nigeria. It can be structured in a convenient area. The area or farm is planted with vegetables and shelter plants such as Plantain, banana, cocoyam, dwarf pawpaw, lettuce, cabbage etc. which helps as covering and also for the regulation of temperature and relative humidity.
Here the snail pen is constructed to fully confine the snails so that they can be intensively managed. The internal and external environments of the snail pen are controlled to give optimum performance. Good adequate feeds are regularly provided. High level of hygienic conditions is provided. Examples of intensive snail system are Boxes, fenced pens, trench pens, drums are cage, hutch and tyres. But the best to use is the one made with Blocks.
This system incorporates indoor breeding (intensive) and Outdoor fattening (extensive).The land must be flat with adequate shade to do this. The land must be soldier ant free and not water logged
Snails are Hermaphrodites I.e. each snails has both male and female organs. But mating is necessary for cross-fertilization to take place. The mating must take place with snail of the same species before they can lay eggs. The lay eggs, which on hatching, give young snails similar to the adults. Sexual maturity: The sexual maturity age is between 6-12 months from day old.
Factor affecting sexual maturity :
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF REPRODUCTION
-Beginning of gametogenesis
-Fertilization of Eggs
LAYING PROCESS OF REPRODUCTION
The fertility of animals is one of the most important as it’s relates to economic concept .This is so because the profit obtainable from animal breeding/rearing is dependent on the reproductive efficiency of the stock. Although the problem of fertility is less experienced in snail farming because snails have high fecundity and prolificacy. It is well observed that fertility does not really respond to selection as it were, this is why improvement most come from management in form of feeding, temperature/relative humidity regulation, and health care in terms of good hygiene in the farm /Pen. Snails are obligate outcrossing hermaphrodites .This means that one externally fertilized snail can establish a population.
Mating in a snail population can occur naturally, in which case, no man disturbs it or artificially in which case man decides when the snails are brought together for mating purposes. Two snails in a mating pair can simultaneously transfer gametes to each other (bilateral mating) if the pair is of the same size. Unilateral mating can take place when the mating pairs are not of the same size .In such case, the larger snail acts as the female.
Duration of incubation is 21-45days, This varies with temperature. The hatchlings will remain for some days in the nest, where they feed on the shell debris or organic wastes in the soil. It is not until after this time this young snails move out of the nest. Loamy/humus soil or better still substrates (devoid of earthworms) is appropriate for incubation. A shallow depression is made in the sand, followed by the counting and flat arrangement of the eggs before they are covered with a thin layer of substrates and (to protect eggs from exposure to desiccation).To protect eggs from exposure to desiccation). A layer of shredded mulch is then placed on the buried eggs. Finally, the incubation tag is placed beside the incubator (indicating incubation date, number of eggs and expected hatching date).This incubator is kept slightly moist (humid)throughout the incubation period, watering to humify the incubator is interrupte
the moment the first essential hatching is observed. Collection of
hatchlings commences 2days after hatching.
Causes of poor hatching include; Soil quality and texture Immature snails, Poor incubation, Poor handling of eggs-exposure to heat, Poor feeding of snails Poor hygiene and health Soil temperature Overcrowding of eggs.
Care of the Hatchlings
They are removed gently from the incubator and transferred to a nursery for the next 20days. They should be wet adequately, matched pawpaw, watermelon and fresh paw-paw leaves and cocoyam should be given always. Calcium supplement should be incorporated to their feeds and soil for optimum growth and strong shell development. They should be protected from escape because of their small sizes.
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 as the giant African snail, this would be about 15 to 25 snails per square meter). 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.
In an extensive system snails feed only on vegetation planted in their pens specifically for that purpose, as in mini-paddock and free-range pens.
In a semi-intensive snail farm, external feed is provided to hatchlings, juveniles and possibly to breeding snails housed in hutch boxes or trench pens.
In an intensively managed snail farm, all snails, at whatever growing stage, are always provided with external feed. Snails are kept in hutch boxes or trench pens.
In very intensive farms the snails are fed a formulated snail feed mix containing all the proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins required for optimal growth. Snails are housed in boxes or trench pens. Unless your snail farm is of the very extensive type, you will have to provide your snails with some or all the food they need for good development.
This will require efforts on your part in growing or collecting snail food,
or cash for buying it.
Therefore, you must know what snails eat and what they need
What snails eat Snails are vegetarian and will accept many types of food. All snails will avoid plants that have hairy leaves or produce toxic chemicals, Snail like physic nut (Jathropa curcas). Young snails prefer tender leaves and shoots; they consume about twice as much feed as mature snails. As they get older, mature snails increasingly feed on detritus: fallen leaves, rotten fruit and humus. Older snails should be fed the same items as immature snails. If a change in the diet has to be made, the new food items should be introduced gradually.
What snails needs
Snails need carbohydrates for energy, and protein for growth. In addition they require calcium (Ca) for their shells, as well as other minerals and vitamins. Snail meat is low in crude fibre and fat; for that reason, these components are of minor importance in snail feed
Recommended food items
Leaves: cocoyam, kola, paw paw, cassava, okra, eggplant, loofa, centrosema, cabbage and lettuce. Paw paw leaves (as well as its fruit and fruit peels) stand out in many trials as good snail food.
Fruits: paw paw, mango, banana, eggplant, pear, oil palm, fig, tomato and cucumber. Fruits are usually rich in minerals and vitamins, but low in protein.
Tubers: cocoyam, cassava, yam, sweet potato and plantain. Tubers are a good source of carbohydrates, though low in protein. (Cassava should be the low-cyanide type).
Flowers: oprono (Mansonia altissima), odwuma (Musanga cecropoides) and paw paw. Household waste: peels of fruit and tuber, like banana, plantain, pineapple, yam and especially paw paw, and leftovers like cooked rice, beans, fufu and eko. Caution: household waste must not contain salt!
1. Fungal diseases: This is mainly Fusarium specie. It affects most of the African giant land snails. This disease is commonly referred to as rosy eggs disease and it affect the snails’ eggs and causes the eggs to turn reddish brown and die off. Fungal disease infection can also be spread through physical contact by snails licking slime from each other’s bodies especially when the stocking density is high.
2. Parasites: Parasites such as a particular fly (Alluaudihella flavicornis) .It looks much like the adult housefly .It lays 20-40 eggs in the snail shell or on the snail. The eggs hatch in about 1 week and the larvae, cream colored worms feed on the body of the snail or wire mesh and latter pupate in the shell. The best protection is to cover the pen with nylon mesh.
3. Bacteria Diseases: This is caused by Pseudomonas specie especially pseudomonas aeruginosa. It causes intestinal infections in snails. This disease affects the snails’ normal growth and development processes. Good snails hygiene can help control this.
4. Deficiency diseases: This occur mostly in domesticated snails in pens
.Older snails can cannibalize on younger snails, break their shells as a source of meeting calcium deficiencies so as to survive. This usually occur where snails are overcrowded and in increased competition for food and space. To solve this, you must provide calcium and water for the snails regularly. Generally therefore, maintaining a high hygienic environment in snails’ pens or farms will reduce occurrences of most of these diseases. Snails ingest microorganism such as bacteria from the soil and their environment. Poor hygiene may predispose the snails to diseases and pathogens which affect their growth and reproduction.
SIGN OF ILL HEALTH Fatigue Dryness of the fleshy part Nodules on the surface of the snails Loss of weight Loss of Appetite Predisposition factors and causative Agent Adverse Environmental condition insufficient shading and Mulching Overcrowding Nutrition Poison Pathogen Old Age Source of foundation stock Prevention Remove the dry leaves used for mulching All dead should be removed and burnt outside the snailery. Top soil in the housing unit must be dug to depth and replaced with humus soil The healthy snails should be washed in a clean water and put in the housing unit carefully. The snails should be well covered with new dry leaves Proper management practices in terms of good feeding, adequate shading, proper mulching, optimum stocking rate and sufficient wetting will curtail or curb the incidence of disease outbreak
Causes of sickness Low relative humidity Direct sunlight Overstocking of snails Dirty water Fermented or poor quality feed Salt chemicals and pesticides High temperature above 35oc Prevention Ensure basic common hygiene and good management practices Consult an Expert like us MANAGEMENT PRACTICES Tilling and Ashing Increases the fertility of the soil substrate. Increases the calcium content of the soil.
Increases protein value of the soil (potash content) Repel dangerous insects and reduce the spread of pathogens.
When the environment becomes unconducive for the snails, they tend to react negatively, when temperature fall to between 6-7 degree Celsius and a lessening of natural light occurs, the snail will cease all activity and prepare itself for a long sleep. The snails will bury itself into the soil to a depth of 3-6cm or hide in crevices, cover its shell opening with a white calcareous membrane called the epiphragm. During this period, the snails draws on its food reserves and loss weight increasingly as the period of hibernation continues. A sick snail should not be mistaken for a hibernating snails.
Check the housing units and remove any dead snail Remove the left over feeds every day. Clean and replenish water trough with cool, clean, fresh water daily. Clean the pens and the surroundings Make sure that the soil is well covered with dry leaves (Mulching). In the dry season, wet the soil adequately. The soil must be moist. Check the water in the gutter/water bath or in the container in case of cage system, if it is adequate for prevention of soldier ants attack. Feed the snails after sunset (5-6pm) to preserve the freshness of the feed. Keep the door to the housing unit shut always
Discourage visitors from entering the snailery. Proper inspection of materials carried to the snailery must be done. Do not use chemicals or Argo chemical I.e. Insecticides or herbicides in the snailery. Soil must be properly moistened especially in dry season. Poultry droppings should not be added to the soil in the snailery. Moldy, stale or fermented feed should not be given to snails The hatchlings require more humid environment and more attention than the mature ones. The inside and outside should be cleaned. Feed and water should be served in shallow containers for easy accessibility. Snails should be well protected from predators such as soldier ants, snakes and rodents
Besides the customary gardening tools (shovel, hoe, rake, cutlass, broom), the following equipment and tools are needed in successful snail farming: ? small weighing scale, for weighing snails and feed ? measuring tape, for measuring pens and snails ? hand trowel, for digging in and cleaning out the pens ? water container and watering can, for keeping the soil moist and refilling water troughs ? water and feeding troughs or dishes ? most important: a notebook, for carefully recording inputs (e.g. labor, materials and feed) and output of the snail farming venture.
Processing Harvesting and storage The age and size at which snails should be collected from the snailery obviously depends on the farming objective: whether the snails are grown for personal use or for the market. Snails grown for personal use can be harvested according to the farmer’s needs; whereas customer preferences dictate the optimum size and consequently age of snails harvested for the market. Snails usually need to grow for at least one year to reach their proper size and weight. It is recommended to harvest snails by the time they reach two years, because after this age their rate of growth slows down. Snails are picked by hand, at nightfall, when they become active and are easier to find and collect. They need to be put carefully into a basket, box, crate or sack, to avoid damaging the shell, which would lower their market value. Never put more than 10 kg snails together in whatever storage receptacle you use, to avoid cracking or crushing the shells in the lower layers.
Snails, whether for household consumption or for the market, can be stored safely for up to 6-8 weeks in a box or crate, if you do not want to collect them daily. First put a 5 cm layer of sawdust or finely cut corncob leaves on the bottom of the box; place over this a layer of snails, then another 3 cm layer of sawdust, and so on, ending with a covering layer. The box should be kept in a cool, shaded place, well protected from predators and poachers.
Snails can be transported to the market in baskets, boxes or sacks, but always take care not to damage them by putting too many together or on top of each other (max. 10 kg).
Processing Freshly gathered snails have just eaten (except if collected when aestivating or hibernating). They can be used directly, but all fasces and dirt must be removed in the kitchen. It is easier and more hygienic to have them defecate before use. Store them in a basket or sack in a cool, shaded place without food for four days, to enable them to discharge all aliments in their intestinal tract. They are now ready for washing, boiling and dressing.
Boiling After washing, put snails into boiling water, again adding some salt and vinegar, or lime or lemon juice, and boil thoroughly for at least 5 minutes.
Achatina fulica (but possibly the other GALS species as well) is reported to be an intermediate vector of the Rat Lungworm and other diseases potentially lethal to humans. Improperly cooked Achatina fulica meat may act as a major source of human infection in places where it is commonly eaten by people, such as Taiwan. Thorough boiling is essential! Dressing Extract the snail from its shell, draining off the body fluid or haemolymph (unless local recipes call for its use), remove the viscera (heart, stomach, kidney, liver, intestines) and cut off the head. The meat is now ready for boiling, stewing, frying or whatever cooking technique your local snail recipe book calls for.
There is good market for snails in Nigeria though not organized. There is also a lot of export potentials for snails. However snails can be sold at the following units; Hotels, Restaurants, Stores, Supermarkets and markets.
Corporate parties such as weddings, naming/ birthday celebration. Institutions such as Hospitals, Neighborhood and direct sales to Individuals. There is a global demand for snails that must be tapped into.
Snails could be processed for eating purpose as from 9 months of age. Hard objects like stone, iron etc. can be used to break the shell or put the snail in hot water for 3 – 5 minutes, remove and then shake. The visceral (intestine and kidney etc.) of the snails and the foot (edible portion) will come out of the shell. Separate the edible portion (foot) from the visceral and the shell.
Wash the foot with album or lime to remove the slime. The edible portion can then be boiled, fried, dried, frozen, stored or utilized as required
YOU CAN REACH US ON OUR
Call 0818407738, 08082655222