How to start a snail farm?
If you’ve ever wanted to be your own boss and work from home, owning a snail farm may be the career for you. With this “How to start a snail farm” and the right amount of hard work and dedication, you could turn a hobby into a profitable business using this snail farming guide.
Table of Contents
Let’s guide you through the vital things you have to look at as you want to establish a profitable snail farm in this how-to start-a-snail farm guide made for you.
Establishing a snailery
Snail farming requires very minimal Land with preferably medium-light soil, rich in lime and calcium.
The soil type is basic to the success of a snailery. Snails naturally want damp soil that is neither very wet nor dry.
A soil moisture content of 35% is ideal, and the Land should not be prone to flooding. Damp soils allow the snails to move around freely and lay their eggs in the ground.
Preferably, the soil should have high organic matter levels, and such grounds serve as natural sources of nutrients and minerals for the snails. In intensive systems, lime should supplement the soil to help good shell formation.
Soils should be well-drained with minimal compaction and well-aerated to allow air to penetrate the ground easily.
Night dew is vital for healthy snail mobility. Your snail boxes must be secure to avoid snails from escaping and protect against predators. Also, use decay-resistant materials.
The Mortality rate
According to research, the average mortality rate is 20% (from egg to the finishing stage and before the sale of the snails), and the speed can increase if there is a problem with natural predators such as rats, mice, or birds.
There are no particular diseases affecting snails, but parasites can affect snails basically due to poor hygiene, overcrowding, or polluted water.
The Labor input
You should have time and available human resources to go into Snail farming if your target is on a large scale. It requires a lot of time and workforce. Monitoring the snails’ temperature, humidity, and nutrition is the most time-consuming operation. These in particular need more attention in learning how to start a snail farm.
Breeds of snails
Some of the species of snails that have the best market potential for breeding are the Hélix aspersa (Petit Gris), Hélix aspersa maxima (Gros Gris), Achatina Marginata, Achatina Fulica, Achatina Achatina, etc. If you reading this guide on how to start a snail farm you need to pay attention to the type of snails consumed in your locality.
How to start a snail farm and get it right by knowing the common breeds of snails.
Harvesting of Snails
The harvesting of snails is done by hand and is labor-intensive, and snails are then purged, netted, and exported.
In instances where the adult snails are kept for breeding, they will be selected from and placed in a hibernation room where they will sleep over winter until they are woken in January to mate, beginning the cycle once more. This is another vital thing to take note of learning how to start a snail farm.
Snail farming techniques
In this system, snails are farmed in outdoor free-range snail pens. Snails can move around the pasture sourcing food and water; hence there are no actual feeding requirements. This system is not commercially viable, nor is it very productive. If you learning how to start a snail farm, an extensive system will not be the best system to practice.
Mixed or semi-intensive system
Here the snails are normally reared on pasture but also spend some time indoors and are commonly supplemented with nutrients.
Egg laying and hatching occur in a controlled environment in this system. The young snails are sorted after six to eight weeks and placed in different growing pens.
Intensive system snail farming is the most commercial method of rearing snails. In this system, adequate attention is given to the welfare of the snails. They are kept in a controlled environment where watering, feeding, and proper medications are provided.
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Production cycle to snail production
Below are the four basic stages of snail production:
Stage 1: (January to March)
Reproduction: you can go directly to buy baby snails to start the snail farm.
According to research, breeders of about 30,000 are needed to populate a one-acre stage four finishing growth stage.
Snails do mate in a warm temperature of 17°C constants. Additional lighting is needed to provide 16 hours of daytime and eight hours of nighttime with the lights out.
Each snail can lay up to 150 eggs. The preferred humidity is between 75% and 95%. These gastropod molluscs are hermaphrodites.
A hermaphrodite is any organism with both female and male reproductive organs and, therefore, can produce both eggs and spermatozoa.
After fertilization, the eggs go through a growth process inside the snail until they are delivered. After that, both snails lay their eggs and bury them in separate places inside a small hole made in topsoil in a cool place.
Incubation: while the eggs are allowed to sit and incubate in the local snailery, in a commercial snailery, the eggs are gathered manually using a plastic spoon and placed in the incubation chamber. They are put in plastic boxes, which are kept at 20oC. The eggs will hatch after 15 days.
Growth room: this stage usually takes eight weeks. The baby snails at this stage are kept in a polytunnel, where they get light directly from outside. During this stage, the optimum night temperature is 12°C, and they will stay here for eight weeks.
Stage 4: (May to September)
Finishing growth: the snails are moved into the field. Just one acre can accommodate 1.2 million snails and produce 10 tonnes of snail meat.
A one-acre plot needs to be laid out with tilted wooden supports, like pallets propped up, which protect the snails from adverse weather and allow dry food to be placed on top for when they come up to feed at night.
The netting covers the entire area to prevent the snails from escaping, and it also prevents birds and rats from entering to feed on the snails.
Importance of Snail Farming
- It can be very cost-effective and productive.
- Snail farming is profitable.
- They are used for health-related products and are highly medicinal.
- Snails have traditional healing benefits.
- It is a very good export opportunity and you will gain much in learning how to start a snail farm.
Snail meat is a very attractive source of food as it is very high in protein, low in fat, and has high calcium and iron reserves.
With the increasing demand for snail meat, snail farming has a bright future, and it’s a profitable venture to go into currently you making the difference is what this guide “how to start a snail farm” seeks to address.
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