How to build a cost-effective snail house
One of the very first thing that pops the mind of any snail farmer when setting up a snail farm is where to keep the snails.
If you just read about how profitable snail farming is and wish to start up a snail farm, but don’t know how to go about your snail house.
Or you want to know how you can construct a durable and lasting snail house with little cash
Then, this post is for you, at the end of this post, you will learn not only how to build your own snail house but how to build a capital conservative snail house.
You will also learn about the different snail housing systems, this will help you understand which of the systems is best for your snail.
I have attached, photos of different snail houses for your better understanding.
As you may know before now, the type of snail house your snails require depends hugely on the number of snails you want to raise.
This will also determine the type of snail housing system that will suit your farm.
There are three main types of snail housing systems in snail farming
Types of housing systems in snail farming
There are the intensive housing, semi-intensive or Mixed housing system and extensive housing system.
Intensive snail housing system
This is a system of snail housing in which the snails are kept in a closed environment or house, and their activities, totally controlled by the farmer.
They are closely monitored and are under total supervision by the owner. This system of snail housing tries to recreate the natural habitat of snails.
Examples of intensive housing systems are cages, hutch boxes, fenced pens, trench pens, drums or tyres, empty cans.
This is the best system of snail housing, because of its benefits over the extensive and semi-intensive systems of farming.
Semi-intensive snail housing system:
In this housing system, the snail activities are controlled, but to an extent, they are not under total supervision after a few weeks of birth.
Feeding, birthing, egg-laying and hatching occur in an enclosed environment but the young snails are removed to the outside environment as they grow bigger and stronger.
Extensive or Free-range Snail Farming System
In the extensive or free-range snail housing system, the snails are allowed to move freely in a mapped environment and feed in open pastures within the environment.
They are not confined in a building like in the intensive system.
- Requires more land than other types/systems of snail farming.
- It is difficult to locate and protect eggs and newly born snails when using the free-range system.
- A fully enclosed and roofed pen is relatively expensive to build.
- In the open type of free-range pen, it is more difficult to keep out predators and poachers.
- It may be difficult to control disease outbreaks because of the farm size.
This system is usually practised by farmers who do snail farming business for commercial purposes and occupy a large expanse of land or small scale farmers with less capital for land space.
Plastic tunnel houses, greenhouses, free-range snail pens and buildings with controlled climate fall under this category.
You can read more on the types of snail housing systems here
In building your snail house, your target is to satisfy the need of the snails, not to build what will look good in the eyes.
Here are what you should look out for while constructing your snail house
Features of a good snail house
A Good Snail house should possess the following
- Enough Space: An average snail lays 86 eggs per cycle and has an average of five reproductive cycles a year, each individual snail can lay over 200 eggs a year so your snail needs space.
Overcrowding your snailery reduces the growth of the snails and promotes disease outbreak.
Your snail housing must have enough space for your snails to move freely.
- Protection: Protecting your snails against predators, such as insects is very vital to the growth of the snails.
- Insects when allowed access to the snail house, will invade the snail house, increase in number with time and eat up your snails.
- Accessibility: You snail house must be easily accessible. an easily accessible snail house will reduce the stress of feeding the snails as well as carrying out other activities.
- Ventilation: A good snail house should have good ventilation. Dryness should be avoided.
- Protection against wind and sun: Wind leads to moisture loss in snails, a good snail house should be able to protect the snails from wind, it is important you understand wind movement before constructing your snail house.
If your snail house meets these qualities, then you are good to go.
Here are the materials needed to construct a snail house.
Materials needed to construct different snail houses
The materials needed for the construction of a snail house depend on the type of snail house the farmer wants to build.
Generally, you need the following materials for your snail housing
- Mosquito nets
- Wood: Mostly from Iroko or Mahogany.
- Blocks or bricks.
- Insect resistant: They help to protect your farm against harmful insects.
- Old water tanks
- Oil drums.
- Car tires
How to construct different snail houses
A snail lives an average of about five to seven years; however, those in captivity can live up to 10 -15 years, therefore, your snail house should be for a long term purpose.
Hutch box snail house
This is one of the easiest forms of snail house to construct, The steps are not hard. You can construct this type of snail house by yourself.
A hutch box is a rectangular or square-shaped structure, that is mostly single or multi-chambered, with lids and are placed on a stand.
This is the type of snail housing mostly seen in an intensive system, though, it can also be adopted in semi-intensive snail housing system.
How to construct hutch box snail house
- Get at least eight planks of wood.
- Join the planks with nails to produce a rectangular-shaped box.
- The dimension of the box should depend on the space you want to place it.
- A small size hutch box should bear at least 100cm x 100cm x 50cm dimension.
- The box should have a cubical wooden frame.
- Construct a stand of at least 30cm for the box.
- Build the base of the box using a stronger wood, the base should have a little space underneath to allow for excess water drainage.
- After constructing the box, fill the pen with hummus sandy loamy soil to a moderate depth depending on the height of the pen.
- Whichever height it possesses, it should be 30% filled with soil, the soil must be treated before introducing it into the pen.
- Put dry banana leaves in the pen for mulching and water retention.
- Cover the box with a lid made of wire mesh and mosquito nets, the lid should be fitted with padlock, for extra security.
- Place the box stand in a bowl and fill it with water plus kerosene or condemn engine oil, other disinfectants can also be used. This helps to protect the box from insect attack.
Kindly note that;
- The size has to be dependent on how many snails you want per pen.
- A box of 1sqr.m can be used to rear 5 – 7 mature snails.
- The soil should be able to retain water at a moderate level (your choice of soil should be Sandy-Loam soil or Loamy soil with moderate pore spaces.
- The pen should be closed, this prevents the snails from leaving the pen.
- The net should be strong enough to hold off predators, insects, and other harmful organisms.
Construction of snail House using Baskets
A basket can serve as a locally made snail house, it can be used for the incubation of snail eggs as well as the hatching of the eggs.
Baskets become old after a short period of time, this means you have to change them from time to time.
To build a snail house using basket.
- Buy or make a good and strong basket, put it under a shade or a cover to protect it from the sun and wind.
- Lay a perforated sack on the bottom of the basket to hold soil, fill the basket with Sandy-loamy soil to a depth of 20-25cm. It may need to increase if the basket is tall. just fill 30% of the basket.
- Put dry leaves on the soil for mulching, this will help in water retention and prevent dryness.
- Once done, cover the basket with a lid made with wood and mosquito net to provide protection against insects.
Construction of a Trench pen snail house
This is a shallow pit type of snail house, to construct trench pens type of snail house.
- Choose a good site for your snail pen, you can click here to learn more on factors to consider in selecting a good site for your snail farm.
- You can dig the trench pen on the group or raise it up to about 60cm high (off ground level) using cement and blocks.
- The floor of the trench should be made with concrete or cement, once done, fill the trench with treated soil to about 25% of its hight.
- Cover the snail pen with a lid made of mosquito net to prevent insect inversion.
You must ensure that the trench is situated under a shade, the cover must not be airtight but strong enough to hold of insects.
Construction of snail House using old tyres
Old tires can also be used as a snail house, it is less expensive and can be found anywhere. You can get them from the roadside vulcanizers.
To construct snail housing using old tires
- Select a good site, the site should be under a shade and not obstructing wind movement.
- Stack three or four tyres together, you can also use cemented blocks to form a ridge around the tyres to hold the tyres together.
- Fill the tyres with Sandy-loam soil to about 30% of the total height, this should cover at most two of the stacked tyres.
- Cover the tyres with a chicken wire with mosquito net, this aid in protection.
- Depending on the size of your snails, you can have 6 to 8 snails in a single tyre set.
Construction of Commercial Snail house
This method of snail house construction is for large scale snail farming, the snail house is big and will contain a good number of snails.
This method is found in a semi-intensive snail housing system.
- Selection a suitable site: Select a suitable site for your snail house
Clear and peg out the area you want to situate your snail house.
Factors such as the size of the farm, climatic conditions, and so on should be put into consideration before choosing the site.
- Prepare the Foundation: The Foundation starts after pegging out your land. This should be done by contractors, the cost depends on the size of the farm.
- Erecting your structure: The structure can be erected with cement blocks, metals or woods. The floor should be filled with treated soil.
The house should be segmented with the smallest portion reserved for newly hatched snails.
A store should be mapped out for keeping equipment
This type of snail house is suitable if you have a large expense of land and ready to employ workers.
Construction of snail house using old Tanks or Drum
Old drums can be used to construct a snail pen just like old tyres but drums are more durable and long-lasting.
To construct a snail house using drum or tanks follow the steps below.
- Get an old drum and place it under a shade, it could be trees or you build a shade for it, perforate the drum.
- Put sack at the bottom of the drum, this helps to hold soil.
- Fill the drum with treated soil to about 15-20cm depending on the size of the drum.
- Water the soil to increase the moisture content of the soil.
- Introduce the snails and cover the drum with banana leaves.
- Cover the drum with a lid made of wire and net to protect the snails.
Free-range snail housing system
Free-range snail farming housing system is a type of snail housing system where the farmer allows the snails to move about and feed freely on open pastures.
Shades are provided for the snails to shelter purpose.
This type of snail farming system tries to recreate an exact natural habitat of snails using artificial methods.
This is done by allowing the snails to breed at their own pace, eat when they want to, and have the chance to eat their naturally desired food materials.
This results in faster growth and higher productivity.
Plastic tunnel houses, greenhouses, free-range snail pens and buildings with controlled climate fall under this
The choice of snail house depends on the farmer’s target, there is no form of the snail house better than the other, it’s all about the purpose which they serve, you can choose any type of snail house as long as it serves you.
The methods as discussed above will aid you in reducing the cost of constructing your snail house while maintaining a great farm so, we dearly hope this solves your question of how to construct snail pen.
If you have a question to ask, or you need help in setting your snail farm, indicate in the comment box below, we will gladly assist you.