‘Snail farming requires little capital and you can start in your own backyard’, I’m sure this doesn’t sound strange to you but have you ever wondered if there are potential risks to having a home based snail farm in your house? Well let us take a closer look.
Many people who are into snail farming began from the backyard and I mean home based snail farms and farmers.
This is mostly because snails are environmental friendly animals that can be reared without disturbing the peace of the neighborhood as they are known to be quiet, no noise or offensive smell.
I know of many people who have snail farms in the comfort of their compound; as a matter of fact, my dad once had a snailery, two fish ponds as well as a poultry farm in our compound!
The way you treat your snail pen and other domesticated animals goes a long way in the overall health of the occupants in such compound and the community as well.
Nutritional Value Of Snails
Snail delicacy in whichever form its prepared; pepper soup, peppered or as a protein, is a highly nutritious food rich in protein, calcium, amino acids like lysine and iron. It is a preferred alternative to red meat as it contains less fat and low in cholesterol.
Snail meat also contain vitamins and minerals that are highly beneficial to the body especially those that we cannot produce naturally hence, through rich and healthy diets.
Another nutritional value gotten from consuming snail meat is Arginine which helps the body in building proteins. It is present in most protein-rich foods such as chicken, beef, beans and dairy products like the cheese and milk.
As highly nutritious as the snail is, there are beliefs, cultures, religions and people that would not want to have anything to do with them.
Funny myths like having a slow progress as a result of the slow pace at which snails move and giving birth to drooling children are some reasons why people avoid snails.
Domestic Home Based Snail Farm
A large percentage of snail farms are located in residential areas due to the low cost of production and non offensive smell the snail possesses. Snails can be reared using used tyres, building bricks as well as a cage.
Snail farming is believed to have been in practise as far back as in the days of the Roman empire although there is not much evidence to back this up except of course archaeological findings where lots of heaps of snail shells dated many centuries ago were discovered.
And then, Heliculture is a Roman name butteressing the fact that the Romans may have been the first group to domesticate and eat snails.
Many domestic or home based snail farming is to meet the protein demand of such household and possibly have a few more to sell for profit.
Such farms may not be functional during the dry season as it is not exactly for profit making as much as for consumption except when kept as pets.
Rearing snails is easy because snails do not make noise nor do they require constant attention. It can be a successful side business for salary earners.
Commercial Home Based Snail Farm
Snail farming business is huge world over as the demand for these creatures is on the rise every day. the snail market is high and wide as it includes cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries making use of the snail slime and artists making use of the shell basically.
Snail farming is a huge money pipe, lucrative, cost efficient and low capital. There are opportunities to begin with a few hundred snails to any number you can cater for putting the high reproduction rate of snails.
In comparison with other livestock farming such as poultry, a snail farm requires little financing, technicality and labour cost. They can be reared on a small piece of land or large expanse of land.
Commercial snail farming is rearing snails for the sole purpose of making profit. It can be from the use of large snail cages or constructing an outdoor snail pen because the size of the snail house determines how big the snail farm business is.
Advantages Of Home Based Snail Farm
- Snail meat are healthy alternative to red meats such as beef, pork etc
- Snail meat is a relatively cheap source of protein when reared at home
- Snail meat is good for people with heart problems
- Snails are noiseless, very quiet and they are even nocturnal.
- Snail droppings and faeces are odourless unlike poultry and other livestocks.
- Snail farming has a huge market and practice can be done from home before going into commercial farming
- Snail slime is also used to clear off skin infections such as acne and stretch marks
- Snails can consume almost anything therefore over riped fruits, vegetables and food items can be added to snail meals
Requirements Of Home Based Snail Farm
Having a home based snail farm is not difficult as it requires little capital. When there is space, you can construct a snail pen but where the space is minimal, a well constructed cage or used old tyres can be used.
Type Of Snail House
The available space determines the type of structure your snail would have. Hutch boxes, clay pots, drums can also be used to rear snails especially where there are no spaces at all such as in a block of flats etc.
Snails are crawling animals therefore the type of soil in their habitat is of utmost importance. In other to have a high yield and low mortality, the soil must have a high organic matter content.
The snail feed is the next thing to consider as snails are known consumers of over 50 varieties of fruits and vegetables including pawpaw, banana, watermelon, cucumber and some left over cooked meals.
Snails also needs balanced diet; protein for growth and body development, carbohydrates for energy, and calcium for healthy shells, water for general well being as well as other minerals and vitamins. So therefore, treat and feed them well!
Feeding time for snails should be done between 5- 7pm at least once a day to avoid cannibalism and because they are more active then.
It is important to watch out for signs of inadequate feeding such as being underweight, fragile shells and broken shells.
Risks of Home Based Snail Farm
There are few potential risks when having a snail farm in your residence. These risks include:
- Theft: there is tendency of the snail farm attracting thieves to the house especially if there’s been an escape from the pen. Snails leaves their slime trail making it possible to know there are more snails around.
- Rodents: Rats and mice are known predators of snails. Having these rodents attack your snails also means they can find their way into the residence which can pose health risks especially if they come in contact with food items.
- Reptiles: lizards and snakes fall into these category. Safeguard your snail pen as well as your homes when there are potential risks. It is important not to allow the snails from escaping the pen and attracting predators.
- Arthropods: termites, moths, cockroaches and other insects are sworn predators of snails and they also can find their way into the residence especially if there are food scraps littered around the compound.
- Diseases: Snails are host of various parasites that can be harmful to human health. Where there are rodents around the snails, there is the possibility of the snails coming in contact with the rodents’ faeces making them unsuitable for consumption. Therefore, good hygiene is imperative.
Take Home For Based Snail Farms
It is important to keep the snail pen protected from direct sunlight, extreme heat and winds.
The snail pen should have an effective draining system to let excess water out. This should be done to avoid unnecessary build up of moisture.
Use the best of soils; loamy for your snail house and change the soil as the need be to avoid contamination with mucus.
Do not overcrowd the snail house to avoid cannibalism. Snails of the same size should be housed together.
Home Based Snail farm is an excellent way of supplementing your household’s protein supply and also make a few bucks.
The experience is quite amazing and a good way to get into commercial snail farming after learning the ropes.
Snails are excellent creatures that can be reared at home however, the few risk of predators should be considered and guarded against to enjoy a wholesome experience of snail farming.
When you decide to go bigger in your snail farm, we wish you all the best and till then, keep your home based snail farm running!