Are you considering starting a snail farm? You should because Snail farming business is a goldmine for a steady stream of income.
But way too many of us have not discovered how profitable this slow-moving creature can be to its farmer.
Snail Farming is Lucrative only if you have the right knowledge to succeed in the business.
But, guess what?
After reading this post, you will gain enough knowledge on how to start a snail farming business.
To get more conviction for starting a snail farm, you need to see the benefits of snail farming business.
Table of Contents
- Did you know these snail facts?
- Things to know before starting a snail farm
- 1. Select a suitable site for starting a snail farm
- 2. Know the climatic factors that affect snail farming
- 3. Build a snail farming house for keeping the snails
- 4. Get viable snails for snail farming
- 5. Learn about snail food and how to feed snails
- 6. Determine the best time to harvest snails for the market
- 7. Know the pests and diseases that affect snail production
- 8. Determine the best time to start keeping snails
- 9. Evaluate the Cost of starting snail farming business
- Summary of the 9 interesting steps to success in snail farming business
Did you know these snail facts?
As more and more people are picking interest in healthier living, snails fill in perfectly as a nutritional favourite in many homes.
Snails contain almost all the amino acids our body needs, and most of its by-products are ingredients for producing cosmetics and medicines.
The low-fat content and low cholesterol level of snails, make snail meat a good antidote for cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, cardiac arrest, and stroke.
That’s not all!
Apart from the great taste and health benefits of snails, many people like to keep them for keepsakes as pets.
Many people use Snail shells for ornamental purposes.
Also, ground snail shells can replace the bone meal and oyster shell in animal and livestock feed.
Unfortunately, snails have downsides too!
The same snails that some people raise or gather as food are also agricultural pests that cause serious crop damage.
For this reason, countries like the USA and Australia have put a ban on the importation of live snails.
Even with the ban, you can still process snails and export to European countries or to North America.
Exporting to the USA makes sense because they import hundreds of millions of US dollars’ worth of snail meat annually.
Other important foreign markets for selling snails are Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Canada, Japan, Sweden, Austria, and the Netherlands.
Please note that you need to obtain an export license from your country before you can export snails to other countries.
What Snails are suitable for Snail Farming?
The best snail for snail farming business falls under the Achatina genus.
Achatina is a genus of medium-sized to very large, air-breathing, tropical land snails, terrestrial pulmonate gastropod molluscs in the family Achatinidae.
Here is another interesting snail fact!
There are a lot of species of Achatinidae in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Some snail species are kept for tourist attraction due to their size and colourful shells.
For the purpose of snail farming however, we will concern ourselves with only three species that are commercially viable, marketable, and of course profitable.
The three African Giant snails viable for snail farming business are;
- African giant tiger land snail – Achatina achatina
- The giant West African land snail – Achatina marginata, and finally,
- Achatina fulica.
Below is a collage image of the three African Giant Snails viable for snail farming business.
Things to know before starting a snail farm
There are a few thoughts that must come to your mind when starting a snail farm in Nigeria, they are;
1. Select a suitable site for starting a snail farm
Starting a venture in snail farming requires space. Your backyard, indoors or open-lands can all be used depending on the scale.
The 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 soil should be humus or loamy that can support vegetable growth. It must be rich in organic matter and not water-logged or acidic.
If your snailery is too wet or water-logged, it would encourage the development of harmful bacteria and fungi.
Also, the site should have a flat topography (flat land surface), with adequate shade.
Snails do good in environments which provide cover, moisture, and food.
They will, however, do great in one that closely mimics their natural habitat.
2. Know the climatic factors that affect snail farming
Snails are easily dehydrated, and wind increases the rate of moisture loss in snail which in turn, leads to dryness for the animal.
To prevent snails from drying out, snaileries (snail house) should be situated in sites that are protected from the wind.
Also, the temperature and humidity in the area should be moderate.
3. Build a snail farming house for keeping the snails
The type and dimensions of your snailery depend, largely on the snail growing system you choose, and on the number of snails you intend to produce.
The age of snail, temperature, location, weather, and flooding vulnerability are all factors to consider.
Generally, your snailery must be spacious, well protected from insects and predators.
It must also be easily accessible for carrying out management activities and prevent snails from escaping.
READ ALSO: How to Construct a Snail House
4. Get viable snails for snail farming
Snails can be picked from nearby bushes after a rainy day (especially at night when they come out to feed).
Snails can also be gotten from the bush using this technique; clear a small area in the bush and spread fruits like plantain, pineapple, banana, or a pawpaw in the cleared area at about 4 pm – 5 pm in the evening.
Come back to the cleared spot when it gets dark (7 pm – 8 pm), and you will pick up snails suitable for farming.
This process can be repeated until you are satisfied with the number you have gathered.
An alternative to the method above is to buy giant breeders from existing snail farms or dealers.
However, if you are starting with breeders alone, you must make plans for hatching your snail eggs.
5. Learn about snail food and how to feed snails
Snails feed mainly on leaves, fruits, flowers, tubers, and household waste (peels of fruits and tubers like pawpaw, pineapple, yam, and potato).
Plants that have hairy leaves or produce toxic chemicals are not good for snails.
Snail needs a regular supply of calcium and phosphorus for shell formation, good health, and maximum production.
This can be found in calcium carbonate, eggshell, bone meal, oyster shell, etc.
6. Determine the best time to harvest snails for the market
Snails in the forest take up to 2 years to mature, but correctly farmed snails can be ready for sale in 6-8months under a favourable environmental condition and a good feed.
As a means of identification, the brim of the shell of a mature snail is usually thicker and harder than other parts of the shell.
When harvesting your snails for sale, do not harvest all the mature ones.
Keep a few of them to serve as the base stock for further breeding and multiplication.
7. Know the pests and diseases that affect snail production
Pests that feed on snails include; mice, rats, frogs, crows and domesticated birds such as ducks and turkeys, lizards, snakes, millipedes, and centipedes.
Fungal and bacterial diseases are the only snail diseases that have been identified.
This is spread through physical contact by the snails licking slime from each other’s bodies.
Some sanitary measures can be taken to prevent the spread of disease in your snail farm.
8. Determine the best time to start keeping snails
From June all the way to October are the best months of the year to start a snail farm.
These months have something in common. Yes! Your guess is as good as mine. It is Rain!
Rainfall during these three wettest months drives out Giant African Snails from their period of aestivation in the forests.
This increase in supply during the rainy season makes the price of snails stable in the market, your local fast-food, snail farms and even on your plate.
However, prices usually increase from December to March when snails are in short supplies.
During this period, hotels, restaurants, resellers, and other snail lovers will beg you to supply them.
9. Evaluate the Cost of starting snail farming business
I know you are surprised to see capital appearing as the last subject for consideration.
The upside of snail farming business is that you can start with almost “any amount”.
The only thing that may cost you little money is the construction of a snailery and probably feed supplement (limestone, bone meal, etc.).
For a more sophisticated farm, the money needed to start a snail farm should be given consideration.
Summary of the 9 interesting steps to success in snail farming business
- Select a suitable site for starting a snail farm
- Know the climatic factors that affect snail farming
- Build a snail farming house for keeping the snails
- Get viable snails for snail farming
- Learn about snail food and how to feed snails
- Determine the best time to harvest snails for the market
- Know the pests and diseases that affect snail production
- Determine the best time to start keeping snails
- Evaluate the Cost of starting snail farming business
So that is all about the fundamentals of snail farming.
Now, it’s your turn.
Are these 9 interesting steps to success in snail farming business enough for you to start your snail farm today?
Let’s continue the discussion in the comment.
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