How to treat soil for snail farming
For your snails to perform at optimal level, you need to create for them an environment that looks like the natural snail inhabiting environment.
Snails are selective when it comes to habitat. They don’t live on just anywhere, you can hardly see snails in a waterlogged or arid zone, that is why you need to be careful in choosing soils for your snail farm.
The primary purpose of this is to create an environment that matches the natural snail loving environment.
Basically, for your snails to thrive, you need to create an environment free from toxic chemical substances, insect, or harmful organisms, one effective way to do this is to treat the soil before introducing it to the snail pen.
Aside from the calcium supplied to snails by the farmer through feeding. Snails get calcium from the soil, for shell formation, soil treatment for soil farming is very important to the welfare of the snails.
Snail gets more quality of calcium from the soil than from what it consumes, Lays its eggs in the soil and drink water from there too.
The snail external shell is almost completely made of calcium carbonate (The snail shell is about 95%-98% calcium).
It is of great importance to treat the soil before taking them to the pen beacuse not all soils are good for snail farming, one may want to ask.
What is then the best soil for snail farming?
What is the best soil for snail farming?
In choosing the soil for your snail farm, of course you may not be an expert in soil science, so, here is how you can choose the best soil for your snail farm.
Let’s think about the places you normally find snails, Have you ever seen snails moving freely in a waterlogged area? No
Same way you will never see snails in a stone filled area, but you will see snails moving comfortably in a dark forested area where decaying leaves are covering the top layers of the soil, thats the nature of snail.
So, here are things to look out for when choosing soil for your snails
- Soil Texture: Soil texture is the percentage of sand, silt and clay in the soil. It accounts for how fast water can penetrate the soil, a soil with higher clay content will have low porosity and therefore, water will find it hard to penetrate such soil, these types of soils are not good for snail farming.
- Chemical component of the soil: this, you will hardly notice by just mere looking at the soil but when subjected to laboratory test, you will be shocked to know the level of chemicals in some soil, so how do you solve this issue? By treating the soil, soils with high chemical content are not good for snail farming.
- Soil color: Most dark colored soils are suitable for snail farming, this is because, the dark color is mostly as a result of decayed organic materials so, this type of soil stand a chance in snail farming.
- Presence of metals: Soils that have metals present in them are not good for snail farming no matter how small the materials are, they can harm your snails, and therefore should be avoided.
So, what kind of soil is best for snail farming?
Sandy-loam soil is the best soil for snail farming and here are the reasons why it is the best soil for snaiol farming.
Why Sandy-Loamy is the best soil for snail farming
Here is why sandy-loamy soil is the best soil for snail farming
- Low water holding capacity: sandy-loamy soils contain moderate water holding capacity, they do not support water-logging, they allow free movement of water in and out of the soil.
- Presence of organic matter: Sandy-loamy soil contains a considerate amount of organic materials, this is something snails enjoy a lot.
- Rich organic minerals: Sandy-loamy soil is rich in organic minerals, these minerals are needed by snails.
- Lack of toxic checmical substances: Sandy-loamy soils are mostly free of toxic chemicals, this is due to the presence of organic matter in the soil.
Snails love moderately cool environment, the reason why they are always seen in the bush after rain.
Snails prefer Soils with high organic matter because they support the growth and development of snails. In general, if a soil supports good growth of cocoyam, tomatoes and leafy vegetables, it is most definitely suitable for snail farming.
Even after getting your sandy-loamy soil, it is still not advisable to just pour the soil into your pen, introduce your snails and start feeding them, No.
Before introducing the soils to to the pen, the soil should be treated and made suitable for snail farming.
How to treat soil for snail farming
There are numerous ways to treat the soil to be fit for snail farming. Here, we will discuss in details, the various methods of treating the soil for snail farming.
Methods of treating soil for snail farming
- The use of chemical
- Use of hot water
- Use of organic pesticide
How to treat soil for snail farming using chemical method
This involves the use of chemical substances in the treatment of the soil, the purpose is to make the soil free of harmful germs and insects.
- Collect the soil using a shovel.
- Move them by whealbarrow to an open area.
- Pour the soil on top of another material (preferably nylon) or material such as zinc
- Mix the soil together to increase the pore spaces and make it easier for the substance to dissolve faster.
- Apply the chemical on the soil using knapsack sprayer.
- Turn/mix the soil while applying the chemical, this will ensure that the chemical gets into every part of the soil.
- Allow the soil to rest for three hours after applying the chemical before taking them to the pen.
Chemicals are applied to the soil using knapsack.
The soil is then left to dry for 6-7 hours before they are introduced into the snail pen.
How to treat soil for snail farming using air Drying method
In this method,
- Collect the required amount of soil with a shovel.
- Transfer the soil to an open area, spread the soil (preferably on nylon).
- Allow the soil to stay exposed directly to the sun for 7-9 hours.
- Turn the soil after every one hour so as to allow the sun penetrate all parts of the soil particles.
A harsh climatic condition caused by the direct exposure of the soil to the sun will cause every insect or harmful organism (s) to leave the soil thereby making the soil safe for snail rearing.
Collect the soil after drying it, water it and pour them into the snail pen before the introducing your snails.
How to treat soil for snail farming using burning method
In using burning method,
- Collect the needed amount of soil with a shovel.
- Move the soil to an open area.
- Pour the soil inside a metal.
- Born the soil for 1-2 hours, the heat from the fire kills insects and organisms in the soil making it suitable for snail farming.
- Transfer immediately to the pen and allow the temperature to cool for 20 to 30 hours before introducing your snails.
- Add water to the soil to make it moist and suitable for snails.
It is very important that the soil is made fit for the snail to survive on before introducing your snail else you risk getting the snails killed to give the soil time to cool.
How to treat soil for snail farming using hot water
This method involves the introduction of boiled water in a soil filled container
- Collect the soil from the field with a shovel.
- Boil big quantity of water (very hot).
- Pick a big metal pot and pour a little amount of water inside the pot
- Add the hot water inside the pot containing the soil
- Add more soil and water, while you add the soil, also add water, this way, every part of the soil will be touched by the water.
The hotness of the water will kill any insect, organism or micro-organisms in the soil, making the soil fit for snail farming.
How to treat soil for snail farming using organic pesticides
In this method, it involves the use of organic pesticide like the Neem oil, there are other pesticide that can be used for the same purpose, it all depend on what is around you or what you can afford.
- Collect the required amount of soil with a shovel.
- Transport the soil to an open place.
- Spread a nylon (thick one if possible)
- Spread the soil on top of the nylon.
- Spray on the entire soil the pesticide using knapsack.
- Mix the soil and the pesticide and cover them with another nylon
- Allow them for 5 to 8 hours before opening it
- Pour the soils into the pen and introduce your snails after few hours
This method is not often used by snail farmers as most farmers fear it won’t be effective and therefore don’t want to risk the life of their snails but this is not true, the pesticide is effective.
Farmers though are advised to use any method they find suitable, no method is better than the other, the one that suits you becomes your best method. In dealing how to treat soil for snail farming, your choice should be based on what you can easily carry out without having to pay for such services to be rendered for you.
The Importance of treating the soil for snail farming
- It keeps the soil free of germ and harmful insects.
- It ensures healthy snails; snails consume the soil they find themselves in, if the soil is not germfree, it will be harmful to the snail
- Reduces cost of management, infected soil is like a pathogen, if not treated, the snails are at risk of getting infected, the money will be spent on vaccination, treating the soil ensures fewer expenses on vaccination
- It promotes neatness.
Insects, termites, and other organisms in the soil can be very harmful to snails if not properly taken care of, the reduction or complete eradication of these organisms in the soil through soil treatment before introducing the snails is an important managerial practice.
It mediates the presence of infectious insects and germs, ensures healthier and cleaner snails and productivity.
Snail farmers are encouraged to carry out this practice for better, healthier, and productive snail farming. It should be done properly to obtain the required result.
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