How to construct a cost-effective snail house
Did 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 just picked some snails in the garden and wish to keep them? If your answer is yes, then you are welcome to the right place because, 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.
Note that a snail house can also be called Snail pen (it’s simply a place where snails are kept)
In the construction of your snail pen, the first and the most important step to take is;
Choosing a good site
Choosing a good site for your snail house is very important because the location of your snail house can affect the productivity and growth of your snails. Snail pen construction is very important, but getting it right is more important so, the right choice must be made for a more productive snail farming.
Here are the factors to consider before choosing the location of your snail house
Temperature and weather condition
Are you aware that the temperature of an area can affect the growth and development of your snails? Snails perform better under cool and durable weather conditions ranging from 24 to 30 degree celsus. Snails have over time recorded higher productivity when raised in a favourable condition.
It is a wrong idea to construct your snail house in an area with questionable security, You should target areas with good security, or where there is an assurance of the safety of your snails.
A sloppy land is not good for snail farming, this is because of the activities that are involved in snail farming, thus, it is advisable that the land should be flat, and not sloppy.
Size of farm
A farmer who intends to engage in a large scale farming should look for a spacious portion of land, it is not advisable to overcrowd the farm while trying to economize space.
A small scale intensive farmer is expected to construct less sized snail house while a large scale extensive farmer is expected to construct a large-sized snail house.
Snail farming system
A farmer’s chosen system of farming, (intensive, extensive and semi-intensive), is important in deciding the location of his/her farm as well as the size of the snail farm.
An extensive system of farming consumes a larger portion of land because of its nature while an intensive system of farming is more conservative in land usage.How to construct a quality snail house with little capital Click To Tweet
A housing system of farming is the type of farming pattern on which a farmer raises his/her livestock, this can be grouped into three in the case of snail farming; Intensive, Extensive and Semi-Intensive systems of farming.
What are the different types of snail farming systems?
As management activities and categories of financial power which determine farmers’ inputs differ from one farmer to another, snail housing also differs in size and capacity.
Intensive snail housing system
This is a system of snail farming in which the snails are kept in a house, their activities are 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. Plastic tunnel houses, greenhouses, free-range snail pens and buildings with controlled climate fall under this category.
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.
This is the best system of snail farming, because of its benefits over the extensive and semi-intensive systems of farming.
Semi-intensive snail housing system:
In this system, egg-laying and hatching occur in a controlled environment. The young snails are removed after 6-8 weeks to outside snail houses for further development and growth.
The snail activities are controlled, but to an extent, they are not under total supervision after a few weeks of birth.Extensive snail housing system or Free-range Snail Farming System
Free-range snail farming is a type of snail farming structure in which snails are allowed to roam freely and feed on open pastures of living food crops, rather than being densely confined in small enclosures and fed only compound foods.
- It 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.
Benefits of Intensive Snail Farming System over Extensive and Semi-Intensive systems of snail farming
The intensive system of snail farming has proven to be more beneficial to farmers than extensive and semi-intensive because it
- Gives room for close monitoring of your snails.
- It is more secure than the other snail farming systems.
Your snails are less exposed to external attack in an intensive system of farming.
- Snails of the same size can be kept in the same pen, this is a very important practice in snail farming, it checks mortality in snail farming.
- The intensive system gives you better control over the management practices in the snail farm.
- Lastly, in the free-range system, you can’t boast of what you have upfront and you know snail.
What are the features of a good snail house?
A Good Snail house should possess the following
- Enough Space: Your snail housing must have enough space for your snails to graze freely. An average snail lays 86 eggs per cycle and has an average of five reproductive cycles a year, each individual snail can lay 430 eggs a year so your snail needs space.
Overcrowding your snailery impedes the development of snails and therefore should be avoided. Well-spaced snail housing reduces the risk of disease outbreak caused by overcrowding.
- Protection: Good snail housing should be able to protect snails against predators, poachers, and insect infestation. Predators feed on young snails whereas poachers steal snails.
As for insects, they lay their eggs on the snails: these eggs develop to the larvae stage, and then feed on the snails from inside their shells, thereby causing high snail mortality leading to loss of investment.
- Accessibility: It must be easily accessible for carrying out management activities. Snail housing should be built in such a way that it will enable managers to handle snails, place feed, and carry out cleaning activities and other tasks.
- No escape point: The snail housing must prevent snails from escaping. Snails are slow but can wander off through open spaces and invade your house or garden.
Therefore, all possible snail escape routes should be tightly closed.
- Ventilation: Snail housing must be well ventilated and provided with adequate shade.
- Protection against wind and sun: A good snail house must be able to protect the snails from excessive wind.
Wind increases the rate of moisture loss in snail which in turn, leads to dryness for the animal. Planting (fruit) trees around snail pens will help to reduce wind speed and improve the micro-climate. It will also protect the snails from the scorching sun or torrential rain.
- Provision of snail farming materials: A good snail house must have all the necessary equipment for snail farming.
What are the materials needed for constructing a snail pen?
Here are the materials needed for snail house construction.
The materials needed for the construction of a snail house depend on the type of snail house the farmer wants to construct. Common materials used in constructing the snail house include
Concrete blocks or bricks, polythene sheets, galvanized sheets, Mosquito nets or nylon mesh, wood, nails and chicken wire.
Other notable materials like termite resistant timber, plays an important role in the construction of snail housing, they help to protect your farm against termites and other harmful insects.
In most native cases, tree species like opepe, iroko, and mahogany. Disposable materials like car tires, baskets, oil drums, and old water tanks are good materials for constructing a snail house.
How can I construct a snail house?How to construct a quality snail house with little capital Click To Tweet
Here we will, with the aid of pictures explain the best methods of constructing your snail farmhouse. These methods of snail house have proven to be more beneficial to the production of snail because of its cost-effective nature.
A snail lives an average of about five to seven years; however, those in captivity can live up to 25 years old, therefore, your snail house should be for a long term purpose.
How to construct a snail pen with wood and net
This is one of the easiest forms of snail house to construct, The steps are not hard. With a clear picture and understanding of what you want to do, you can construct this type of snail house by yourself.
The materials needed to construct this method of snail farm includes
- Soil (Treated soil).
Steps in Constructing a snail house
- Get at least eight pieces of plank.
- Join the planks with nails to produce a rectangular-shaped pen.
- Cover the bottom with nylon or sack.
- Fill the pen with hummus or loamy soil to a moderate depth depending on the height of the pen. Whichever height it possesses, it should be 50% filled with soil (the soil must be treated, you can check our last post on how to prepare the soil for snail rearing by using the search bar).
- Put dry leaves on the soil for mulching and water retention.
- Then, build a cover on top of the pen for protection, with mosquito nets. This will help in resisting insect attack.
This is how the end product will look like
- The wood must be strong enough for long-lasting.
- The size has to be dependent on how many snails you want per pen.
- 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 with Baskets
A basket is a good material for locally made snail cage. It is used for raising hatch-lings of less than three months of age or for incubation of eggs. The major limitation in the use of the basket for raising snail is poor durability.
To make snail housing using baskets, the following procedures should be followed: Get a good basket and lay sack on the bottom to hold soil.
- Fill the basket with hummus or loamy soil to a depth of 15-20cm.
- Put dry leaves on the soil for mulching.
- After that, cover the basket with a lid, or chicken wire mesh placed between two mosquito nets and fastened with a wooden frame, to provide protection against insects.
Trench Pen Snail House method
Trench pen is a type of snail habitat that is built in a shallow pit. To construct trench pens.
- Select an appropriate site and peg out the position of your pen.
- The trench is either dug into the ground or raised 40 – 50cm above ground level using cement blocks.
- Ensure that the trench is well-drained to prevent water-logging
- Fill the trench with good loamy soil to a depth of 10 – 15cm.
- Concrete can be levelled on the floor of the trench before topping with the soil.
- Construct feeding and water trough to a height 5 –7cm above the soil level.
- After that, cover the snail pen properly with a well-fitted framework of chicken wire plus mosquito net.
Trench pens have the advantage of being flexible, especially when sorting snails are always easy to locate, for handling, feeding, selection, and final sale or consumption.
- On the contrary, trench pens have the disadvantage of being expensive to construct (especially the raised trench pen). Secondly, the farmer may end up having backache because of long stooping or kneeling due to the low height of the trench.
Construction of snail House with old tyres
Old tires are less expensive and readily available in urban areas. It can be sourced from local mechanics or vulcanizers and used as a backyard snail farming structure. Although tires have poor ventilation, you can improve ventilation by perforating tires using a hot pointed metal rod.How to construct a quality snail house with little capital Click To Tweet
To construct snail housing using old tires
Select an appropriate site under a shade.
- Stack 3 – 4 tires upon one another as shown in the image above.
- After stacking, fill the tires with suitable loamy soil to a depth of 10 – 15cm.
- Cover the tires with chicken wire and mosquito mesh, placed between the topmost tire and the second one from the top for protection.
Car tires can hold up to 3 – 6 snails, depending on their sizes. Tires of larger diameters can hold between 5 – 10 mature snails.
Construction of snail house for Commercial Snail farming
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. Here are the steps;
Selection and pegging out of the land
This is the first stage, land selection and clearing takes place at this stage. The choice of land depends on factors such as a system of the farm, the number of snails and climatic conditions.
Peg out the portion of your selected land.
picture of pegged land portion for building a snail house
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
Other management practices
Soil treatment, fumigation and fencing are other important practices that should be conducted before introducing your snails to the pen. Snail pen construction is of course the major step in setting up your farm but these other practices play a time to time role in the growth of your snail farm.
It is advisable to keep records of activities and expenses made while constructing your snail house, this helps in decision making and profit determination.
The choice of snail pen totally 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.
We hope you have learned a lot from this article, let us know your thought in the comment section below, which of these systems have you tried as a snail farm? If you are an aspiring snail farmer, which do you think will be better for you and why?