Foundation Snail Stock: A Factor For Maximum Yield

Starting a snail farm? I can bet it is an exciting and intriguing experience but have you considered which snail specie to breed and where to get your foundation snail stock?

Snails are slow paced intelligent creatures and have to be reared with proper hygiene. Snail farming requires less capital and low cost of production.

Snail farming is a very lucrative agribusiness, highly profitable, and is especially easy and fun to practice.

Foundation Snail Stock: A Factor For Maximum Yield
Foundation Snail Stock: A Factor For Maximum Yield

Foundation snail stock should be snails that are healthy, viable and sourced from reliable breeders. Foundation snail stock can also be referred to as the parent stock.

Foundation snail stock cannot just be any snail picked up from the bush as they may not be healthy enough.

For a newly established snail farm, the snail farmer should get the foundation snail stock from trusted breeders who are known for healthy and viable snails. Examples of such trusted breeders are experienced snail farmers and also from agricultural institutes.

Snails are nocturnal animals; active at night and early mornings. They go into hiding when the sun is up and come out when the day is cool and especially after rains. This is the best time to collect snails.

Foundation Snail Stock: A Factor For Maximum Yield
The Burgundy Snail

For future breeders, the snails with the strongest shell should be selected. The strong shells protect them against predators such as rats.

Baby snails and new hatchlings would develop into full maturity (around 8months) before being able to reproduce hence why they are not to be used as foundation snail stock!

Foundation snail stocks are usually more expensive than other snails meant to be consumed. This is due to the fact that they are healthier, better and safer and are still good enough to parent snails.

Where To Obtain Foundation Snail Stock

It’s advisable for new and intending snail farmers to obtain their foundation snail stock from these 3 major sources: trusted experienced snail farmers and snail breeders; agricultural institutes; and markets. Each of these sources has their own advantages and disadvantages.

Obtaining Foundation Snail Stock From Snail Farmers and Snail Breeders

Foundation snail stocks have been managed from hatching to maturity by the snail breeders and snail farmers. They are also sexually matured snails and should weigh about 100g. Snail breeding should begin once the rains begin as this is the natural time the snails reproduce in the wild.

Advantages of Foundation Snail Stock From Snail Farmers And Snail Breeders

  • The snails are familiar with being in captivity
  • The age of the snail is known unlike snails in the wild.
  • The overall performance and output of the snail can be determined.

Disadvantages Of Foundation Snail Stock From Snail Farmers And Snail Breeders

  • There is tendency of replicating the snails from a particular snail breeder.
  • The price is higher compared to buying from the market.
Foundation Snail Stock: A Factor For Maximum Yield
Periwinkle Snails

Obtaining Foundation Snail Stock From Agricultural Institutes

Agricultural institutes and Research institutes have been known to study various species of flora and fauna and can give the best advice. Species obtained from here can be relied on 100% to give maximum output and productivity.

Examples of such institutes include but are not limited to the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Moor Plantain etc.

Advantages of Foundation Snail Stock From Agricultural Institutes

  • The snails have been studied and probably modified.
  • The snails are familiar with being in captivity even research farms and labs.
  • The age and reproduction ability of the snail is known and documented.
  • The snails are free of infections and diseases.
  • The overall performance and output of the snail can be determined.

Disadvantages Of Foundation Snail Stock From Agricultural Institutes

  • It is expensive to purchase from agricultural institutes.
  • There may be the need to check your snail house or farm for proper hygiene and requirements.

Obtaining Foundation Snail Stock From Markets

As a snail farmer, when obtaining the parent stock from local snail hunters or the local markets, you should be ready for a fair level of morbidity due to poor handling and change in snail feeds.

This is also due to the changes in the natural habitat; a snail in captivity would adapt fast to another snail pen while a wild snail will find it difficult to adjust to being in captivity.

Snails available in the market may have been picked over a long period, starved and undergone stress which can result in reduced reproductive strength.

Advantages of Foundation Snail Stock From Markets

  • They are cheaper.

Disadvantages of Foundation Snail Stock From Agricultural Institutes

  • Snails performance cannot be determined.
  • The age of the snail is not known.
  • There is tendency for mortality rate to be on the high side due to improper handling.
  • The shells may have been bored for holes by hawkers for marketing purpose.

After stocking, regardless of the source of the foundation snail stock, it is important for the snail farmers or care givers to take a proper record of the performance of the snails.

The snails will not grow at the same pace therefore it is important to tag them for proper identification and separate them over time.

How To Select Foundation Snail Stock

It is important to note that it is just more than the source of foundation snail stock that matters, the size, age and health of the snails are considered too.

Foundation Snail Stock: A Factor For Maximum Yield
Foundation Snail Stock: A Factor For Maximum Yield

Here are some selection criteria that make a snail good enough for use as parent stock:

  1. The snails should be healthy and active no matter the specie
  2. Snails of the same species are to be selected. Do not crossbreed!
  3. The fleshy part of the snail must completely fill up the shell.
  4. There should no varying sizes in the snail collection.
  5. The shells must be hard and strong with no form of damages.

Some Snail  Species To Choose

There  are over 50 species of snails to choose from. The availability of each specie depends on the geographic location, weather conditions and the soils.

In Africa, the most abundant specie is the giant land snails (Achatina fulica). Other species include the garden snail (Cornuaspersum), common periwinkle snail (Littorina littorea) used in Asian and African delicacies, Assassin snail (Clea helena) which eliminates pests in the aquarium, burgundy snail (Helix pomatia) also called Roman snail, white garden snail (Theba pisana) etc.

Foundation Snail Stock: A Factor For Maximum Yield
The Assassin Snail

You can select your foundation snail stock based on the purpose of rearing the snails. If you desire, you can go into periwinkles for delicacies or the assassin snails for aquarium lovers.

Quantity In Foundation Snail Stock

Knowing the number of snails needed as foundation snail stock depends on how big your snail farm or snail pen is. The purpose of rearing also comes into play; farm to table or commercial.

You can start with as low as 10-15 matured snails and you can even start with 10,000 snails; the choice is simply yours!

Conclusion

Making huge profits in snail farming starts from selecting the best stock for your snail farm. It is not just enough to have a snail farm, it is important to have a healthy and productive one.

Foundation Snail Stock: A Factor For Maximum Yield
Foundation Snail Stock: A Factor For Maximum Yield

Sourcing your parent stock for your snail farm should be done with a view that they determine the total output and productivity of your investment. It is not advisable to be penny wise and discover it’s just being pounds foolish.

There are various species of snails to choose from and still rake in millions. The purpose and type of snail farm determines to a large extent the snail specie suitable for your farm.

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