How to start snail farming business successfully

How to start a snail farm

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How to start a snail farm with little capital

Do you know you can generate huge income by just keeping snails at home? Snail farming business has proved over time to be a goldmine for a steady stream of income generation.

Even though it is still rarely explored, those who are in snail farming business have nothing but testimonies to give about the profitability of snail farming business.

The good thing is, you don’t need to spend hugely to start a snail farm, you can start a snail farm with as low as #5,000 (not up to $15).

In this guide, I will walk you through how to start a snail farming business with little capital.

You will not only learn how to start snail farming business, but you will also learn, how to manage your farm.

You will also understand where and when to start your snail farming business and what you need to do to reduce the cost of starting your snail farming business.

How to start a snail farm

The kind of snails to keep and where to get them from.

How to market and sell your snail products and make a good profit.

Without wasting more time, let’s dive in

Snail farming popularly known as Heliciculture and is the act and process of rearing, keeping, and growing snails for commercial or subsistence purposes. 

Scientifically, snails are members of the Gastropoda class and are therefore known for their slow nature.

Snails are nocturnal animals; they are covered by their shell.

Snails retreat completely into this shell once it notices any danger or feels threatened.

Snails are known as “Congo meat” in some part of Africa.

Snail meat contains basic amino acids needed by the body for proper functioning.

Snail meat is also low in fat and cholesterol and therefore, act as an antidote for several cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke.

Its by-products are used as ornament and ingredients for cosmetics and medical purposes.

Snail shell is used in many livestock feed production industries as a substitute for bone meal or oyster shell.

How to start a snail farming business 

To rear snails, one needs a place to keep his/her snails, source of food for the snails.

Understanding of snail management practices (such as, how to incubate the snail eggs, how to feed snails, etc.) and how to sell his products.

 To start a snail farming business, follow the steps below

  1. Study your environment.
  2. Select a suitable site for your snail farm.
  3. Build a suitable snail house
  4. Get a viable species of snail for your snail farm.
  5. Prepare your snail pen
  6. Introduce your snails into the pen
  7. Properly feed and manage your snail.
  8. Protect your snails from pest and diseases.
  9. Provide adequate care for the snails.
  • Harvest your snails.
  1. Market and sell your snails.

Step 1: Study your environment

This is a preparatory survey aimed at understanding whether or not your environment is suitable for the survival of snails.

Here, you try to know what is the people’s view is about the snail. Is snail farming allowed in your locality?

There are areas where snail rearing is forbidden due to religious reasons.

It is not advisable to situate your snail farm in these areas.

How to start a snail farm

Other factors to consider include

  • Accessible road: if you are running a commercial snail farm, your customers may need to visit your farm.

This means that there will be a need for an accessible road for easy to and fro movement on the farm.

  • Security: it is not enough to set up your snail farm, you must ensure that your farm is secured.
Read Also:  Breeding snails for profit: Why some snail farmers fail

You must check how secured the area you want to set up your farm is before starting your snail farm.

This is to prevent invaders and hoodlums from destroying or robbing you of your snails.

Step 2: Select a suitable site for your snail farm.

One thing you must note about starting a snail farming business is that snails don’t perform well in a harsh weather condition neither do they perform well in an extremely cold condition.

Snail requires moderate space, your backyard, indoors or in the field is good.

The type of soil, the water content of the soil, texture are all major factors to consider in site selection.

The soil should be Sandy-Loam soil, rich in humus, organic matter and supports vegetation.

It should not be waterlogged, not acidic and do not contain any form of salt.

The shape of the land should be flat, this is important to the wellbeing for your farm, a flat level land is suitable.

Sloppy lands make it hard to manage your farm. The site should be covered with shades and moderately moist.

Another important factor in site selection is the climatic factors

Understand the climatic condition of the place. Snails are easily affected by unfavourable climatic condition. They dehydrate easily.

The site should not obstruct wind movement to avoid dryness.

Wind causes dryness, to prevent dryness, your snail house should be situated out of wind direction.

Step 3:  Build a suitable snail house

snail house

The type of snail house you will build-depend on the following factors

  • A type of snail farming system: You have intensive, extensive and semi-intensive or mix system
  • Available space: The space available to you, a backyard farm doesn’t need much space like in open land farm.
  • Available capital: The amount of money you want to spend building your farm
  • Desired size of farm: This is how big or small you want your farm to be.
  • The number of snails you desire to keep.

Your snail house must be spacious, well-protected to ensure insect-free, inside of your pen must be moist, not waterlogged.

Your snailery (Snail house) must be kept clean, it must easily accessible for your day-to-day activities in your snail farm.

For small-scale snail farming, you can use old tyres or small boxes.

snail house
Box snail house

If you have a bigger space, you can construct a bigger pen, Snail loves the dark and cool environment. 

You can choose any of the three systems of raising snails and build your snail house to suit your choice.

The intensive, extensive and semi-intensive or mixed systems of snail farming.

To learn more on how to construct your own snail house, click the link below.

How to build a quality snail house with little capital

Your target is to create an environment that is similar to the natural snail environment.

Step 4: Get a viable species of snail for your snail farm.

Sourcing for your snail is very important because the source of your snail will determine the productivity at the end of the day.

When sourcing your snail, you wouldn’t want to buy from the market,

You don’t know how long these snails have been with the owner before they were brought to the market. 

You can get your snails from a farmer who is reselling it.

How to start a snail farm

From a trusted agent, farmer, or an established snail business owner.

All these are viable, but the best environment to get your snail is naturally from the bush.

How to pick snails from the bush

Clear a little portion of land during raining season in the bush (mostly mini forested areas with very cool temperatures).

During evening time, spray sweet fruits like Pineapple, Pawpaw, Plantain, Banana, on the cleared piece of land.

Go back there when it’s dark, you are likely to pick Snails suitable for rearing.

Continue going there until you get enough quantity for rearing. 

Here are the species of snails to look out for when sourcing for your snails.

Best Snail species of snail for Snail Farming

The Giant African Land snails are the best and most common species found in Africa.

It comprises of the Achatina AchatinaAchatina Fulica and Achatina Marginata.

They are the best for farming, they are prolific and can withstand harsh conditions.

  • The Achatina Fulica 

Achatina Fulica

This specie of snail is the smallest among the three. It is reddish-brown in colors and has weak yellowish vertical markings.

Read Also:  11 Essential benefits of snail farming

This color depends on the environment and diet.

They are prolific and lay big sized eggs.

  • Achatina Marginata.
Achatina Marginata.
Achatina Marginata. Photo credit:Arapel Farms

This is the biggest of the three, they can grow to 120mm in shell length.

They lay the least number of eggs among the three, but they are the fastest-growing of the Giant African Land snails

  • Achatina Achatina

Achatina, Achatina

This Specie is popularly called the giant Ghana Snail. It is also known as the giant tiger land snail.

The good thing about this species is that it is a very profit breeder.

This is the best for snail farmers because it has a higher-yielding capacity.

Step 5: Prepare your snail pen

How to prepare your snail pen

How to start a snail farm

You only see snails in a cool environment, that is the nature of snail. 

When building your snail house, you must bear that in mind.

Fill the floor of the pen (at least 1/3 percent of the height of the pen) with sandy-loam soil.

Treat the soil before filling the pen with it

You can learn how to treat soil for snail farming by clicking below

How to treat soil for snail farming

In most cases, snail gets appreciable quality of calcium from the soil they live on.

Snail also lays its eggs in the soil and drink water from there too.

After treating the soil, reintroduce the treated soil into the pen.

Apply clean water on the soil to increase the moisture content of the soil.

You should be wary about smaller insects like ants and termites.

The area can be fumigated to prevent insect attack.

Condemned engine oil can also be used to make demarcation with the oil going around the snail pen.

 Note: Avoid Clay soil or any Acidic and Salty soil.

Read Also: How to build a snail house

Step 6: Introduce your snails into the pen

After treating, reintroducing the treated soil into the pen and applying water on the soil.

Ensure the water is not much.

You can ensure that the water is not much by simply packing the soil with your hand.

Fold your hands, the soil will form a mould shape of your hand.

Throw the soil up, if it falls and scatters, then the moisture content is moderate.

If it fails to form mould, then you need to add more water.

If it, on the other hand, falls and do not separate, then the moisture content is too much.

Introduce your snails immediately you get the moisture content right

It is advisable to provide sheds and mulch your pen after introducing your snail.

You can use fresh leaves to mulch your pen to regulate the temperature.

On one side of the pen, the feeding tray will be situated alongside watering can.

Snails will come out of their shades at night to feed and go back to the shade early in the morning.

Cover the pen once you are done introducing the snails.

The cover should be made of net strong enough to prevent insects and termites from entering the pen.

Step 7: Properly feed and manage your snail.

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.

Calcium for snails
calcium for snail

Snail feed on green leaves, fruits, vegetables, flowers, tubers and can utilize other ranges of foods.

Snails need calcium to grow shells, therefore, Calcium should be provided,

Calcium can be gotten from eggshells or bought in the market. 

Leaves like: Cocoyam leaves, Pawpaw leaves, Cassava leaves, eggplant leaves, cabbage cucumber leaves.

Fruits like: Tomatoes, Pears and Oil Palm fruit, Cucumber. While growing, Mango, eggplant, and pawpaw are all snail food.

Snails also eat tuber crops like yam, cocoyam, and sweet potato.

Agric by-products like corn by-products, soybean, palm kernel cake, peel of plantain, banana, fresh maize chaff.

Important food for snails

Step 8: Protect your snails from pest and diseases.

Insect and pests are snail killers, their tiny nature makes it hard for them to be noticed

If given the room to thrive, they come into your pen, multiply in numbers and massively attack your snails.

You can prevent that by closely monitoring the pen.

Read Also:  How Have Agricultural Commodities Weathered the Coronavirus?

Keep your pen out of reach of children.

Cover the top of the pen with well-constructed net and wood, metal or any other capable material.

Ensure you fumigate around the pen from time to time.

Always remove leftover food materials.

Do not feed the snails decayed or rotten food materials.

Carry out cleanup in the pen at regular interval.

Am very sure your snails will be fine if you maintain the above measures.

Step 9: Provide adequate care for the snails.

Generally, snails are more productive when taken care of, ensure you provide your snails regular needs.

Luckily, snails don’t require much, they are not task-demanding.

Regularly birthing and cleaning of the snails will be of great help to the health of the snails.

Learn more about how to birth and take care of your snails below

How to take care of a snail

Step 10: Harvest your snails.

Harvesting of snails?

snail

“When is snail good for harvesting” is a regular question in snail farming,

Snail matures from six (6) to eight (8) months of breeding when managed and maintained very well. 

It is not advisable to harvest your snails before they reach maturity.

When mature, the brim of a snail becomes thicker and harder than other parts of the shell. 

Do not harvest all the mature snails at once for marketing.

You should try to keep a few to stock your snail farm for the continuity of your farm. 

Step 11: Market and sell your snails.

You can’t learn how to start a snail farm without talking about the snail market.

The snail is generally scarce during the dry season, the scarcity leads to the market being starved of an adequate supply of snail.

Even in wet seasons, the supply is not enough due to very little number of snail farmers.

As a consequence, snails can fetch much higher prices during the dry season (December to March) when supply often does not keep up with demand.

Sails may go on break during the dry seasons, but the human appetite for its taste always retains and continues to grow throughout the year.

Due to the steadily growing demand for snail, it makes a lot of sense to take maximum advantage of this market when the supply of snails is significantly short.

You can sell your snails to other snail farmers, you can also sell to restaurants, hotels and individuals.

snail farming business

There is also export opportunity in snail farming business, but it’s rarely explored so far.

Conclusion

Conclusively, snail farming business is certainly profitable, to farm snail, you need to understand how the snail responds to its environment, start on a small-scale level, and add as your farm grows.

Snail farming is easy, the tricks to making a good profit are simple and easy to put into practice as well.

It’s almost risk-free as they hardly record mortality unless when not managed well.

Never hesitate to talk to other farmers whenever you notice any abnormal changes in your farm.

You can join snail farming groups online.

Don’t forget to check the security level of the area you want to situate your farm before starting your farm.

That’s it,

We are done with how to start a snail farm.

In case you have forgotten the steps we followed, here are they

How to start a snail farming business successfully 

  1. Study your environment.
  2. Select a suitable site for your snail farm.
  3. Build a suitable snail house
  4. Get a viable species of snail for your snail farm.
  5. Prepare your snail pen
  6. Introduce your snails into the pen
  7. Properly feed and manage your snail.
  8. Protect your snails from pest and diseases.
  9. Provide adequate care for the snails.
  10. Harvest your snails.
  1. Market and sell your snails.

I will advise you to follow the guide and not skip any step.

They are all important and will contribute your successful setting up of your farm.

So, will you be investing in snail farming?

How confident are you about snail farming?

If you need any help in starting your snail farming business, please indicate in the comment box below, we will gladly assist you.

Let us know in the comment box below.  

Don’t forget to share.   

Useful links

https://www.legit.ng/1147322-snail-farming-beginners-nigeria-easy.html

https://opportunitytracks.com/snail-house/

 www.snail-world.com 

www.agro4africa.com   

http://pss.uvm.edu/ppp/pubs/el14.htm

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