Termite menace is the major constraint to snail farming. If you can overcome the of termites, then you will succeed in snail farming. Snail farming in Nigeria today is one of the most lucrative farming ventures anyone can embark on. It is very simple to start. Snail farming is highly lucrative because of low cost of feed ingredients. Unlike poultry and fishery, snail farming requires
less attention in that only one person can manage large pens of snails and still manage poultry. Just as fishery and poultry has challenges, snail farming equally has its personal challenges. In Nigeria, snail farming is cash spinning, over 300,000 tons of snails is being consumed per year worldwide. People that are enlightened in snail farming do not reveal the secret of snail farming to anyone, they like keeping such secrets to themselves. In snail farming you may decide not to buy their feeding materials, what you have to do as a farmer is to make sure you plant pawpaw and cassava in sufficient quantity. In so doing then you will not bother yourself in buying those things again. In this article, I will explain to you how to construct an effective snail pen, so that termites will not destroy them.
Construction of snail pen is similar to that of maggottery. The difference is that maggottery is open while snail pen is closed. Also the height of snail pen is higher than that of maggottery. Snails are easily dehydrated and wind increases the rate of moisture loss in snails. Therefore location of snail pen should be done in environment protected from wind. Your may also plant banana and plantain trees around the snail building so as to prevent the impact of wind.
Please do not cement your snail pen. The bottom of Snail pen is always covered with soil, because its major habitat is the soil. This is because the soil contains some of the components and chemical substances that it needed to survive. However the most suitable soil for snail survival must possess these components;
• Must be balanced
• Must not be water-logged
• Must not also be too dry
• Must not be acidic
Therefore, the most desirable soil for snail is sandy-loam, with low water holding capacity. Clayey soil and Acidic soil must be utterly avoided.
In starting snail farm, it is advisable to get your snails from the forest rather than buying from the market. This is because the ones in the market must have been exposed to sunlight and have dehydrated. Snails drink a lot of water, if they are exposed to sunlight; it stresses them out and reduces their fertility. The technique of getting snails from the bush for rearing is very simple. What you have to do is to clear a little bush maybe rectangular shape during rainy season, as you are clearing, you will be dropping the leaves on the ground. why I said rectangular in shape is so that the length of the cleared bush will be longer so that it can bring more patrolling snails. After clearing the bush, just sprinkle spicy juice plants like pineapple, pawpaw, plantain, banana, or use cassava leaves around 5pm. Then at around 9 or 10pm, visit the place and you will catch enough snail. Repeat the procedure in subsequent times until you get enough snails.
Another way of getting snails is by going to the market place and picking their eggs. Check the fertility of the eggs because some of them must have lost fertility through the exposure to sunlight. Put the eggs into container containing wet sand, and cover with dry plantain or cocoyam leaf. Before 21 to 28 days, the snails would hatch into baby snails. After which you start feeding them and gradually you will raise a snail farm.
CONSTRUCTION OF SNAIL HOUSE (SNAILERY)
In construction of snail house, one of the major things you will bear in mind are the constraints to snailery. The constraints are listed below
• Menace of termites
• Menace of snakes
• Menace of rats
During construction all these things must be considered. The recent construction of snail pen is done in such a way that every pen is covered by a strong wire-wedged cover that snakes, rats, cannot destroy even termites cannot penetrate. See image below
Allowance is being provided for water circulation so as to keep the place constantly hydrated. The water circulates through the channel provided, the side walls of the pen slowly absorbs the water thereby transferring the water to the soil at the bottom of the pen. Also when pumping water into the water channel, also splash water into the snail pens so as to keep it hydrated. See image below
I will always advise people to always harden the base of the snail pen with cement so as to avoid the menace of termites. Let the height of the snail pen be 1m, then fill the recommended soil to a reasonable depth of your choice say 60cm for all the snail pens. In so doing termites can never be your problem again. Another effective way of driving away termites in your farm is by applying condemned engine oil round the walls of the snailery or pen. Also use dry leaves to cover the inside of the pen because snails like dark and cold places.
Warning!!! Snails like dark and cold places but always make sure that the humidity does not drop to levels that are harmful to the snails.
FEEDING OF SNAILS
Snails can feed on the following;
LEAVES: cocoyam leaves, pawpaw leaves, okra leaves, cassava leaves, eggplant leaves, cabbage leaves, lettuce leaves etc.
FRUITS: pawpaw, banana, eggplant, pears tomatoes oil palm fruits, cucumber etc. always sort (separate the big ones from the small ones) when they start growing. The rate of reproduction in snails is very high it can become pest when their breeding is uncontrolled. Two hundred thousand snails sold at ₦50 per each is 10,000,000 (ten million naira). You are now a millionaire isn’t that good?
Do not harvest your snails when they are not matured, please make sure you harvest them when they are mature. To know if they are due for harvest, the brim of the shell should be thicker than other parts of the shell.