How To Create Snail Housing In Simple Steps

Snaileries are structures or places where edible snails are kept, bred and fattened for commercial purposes. Several people in the world consume them as a delicacy, and can be a very lucrative source of income. Want to know all about snail farming? Read the full snail farming guide here.

Snaileries are also called snail pen, snail housing, snail habitat or snail structure. When starting a snail farming business, it is very important for you to put your snail housing into consideration – the type, size and dimension, which is hugely dependent on your preferred snail growing system and the quantity of snails you intend to produce.

Amongst the list of factors to consider are the age of the snails, temperature, location, weather and climatic factors, vunerability to flooding and many more.

Types of Snail Housing Systems

The management is largely dependent on the financial input of the business owner, and the preferred housing system could be grouped into three classifications – intensive, mixed (or semi-intensive), or extensive.

Intensive Snail Housing System:

Involves trying to recreate the natural habitat of snails, by creating greenhouses, free-range snail pens or buildings with controlled climatic conditions. This is characteristic of farmers who rear snails in large quantity and for commercial purposes.

Mixed or Semi-intensive Snail Housing System:
Here, egg laying and hatching also occurs in controlled environments, then young snails are removed after 6-8 weeks to the surrounding, for further development and growth.

Extensive snail housinI g system:
Practiced mostly by small scale farmers and subsistence farmers. Farmers practice snail farming using car tyres, baskets, old tanks or anything readily available to them.

Some of the materials needed to construct good snail pens include concrete blocks or bricks, polythene sheets, galvanized sheets, Mosquito nets or nylon mesh, and chicken wire.

Decay and termite resistant timber play important role in the construction of snail housing. In West Africa, favourable tree species that produce such timber include opepe, iroko, and mahogany. Disposable materials like car tyres, baskets, oil drums, and old water tanks are also good materials.

Materials Needed for Constructing Different Snail Pens
Depending on price and availability, the following materials can be used as snail housing materials; Concrete blocks or bricks, polythene sheets, galvanized sheets, Mosquito nets or nylon mesh, and chicken wire.

Decay and termite resistant timber play important role in the construction of snail housing. In West Africa, favourable tree species that produce such timber include opepe, iroko, and mahogany. Disposable materials like car tyres, baskets, oil drums, and old water tanks are also good materials.

How to Construct Different Snail Houses (according to Agro4africa)

1. Using Baskets

For raising hatchlings of less than 3 months age for incubation of eggs, basket housings can be quite useful. Major limitation – poor durability.

How to make a snail housing using baskets:
Get a good locally made/ woven basket and lay sack beneath to hold soil.
Fill the basket with soil (humus or loamy) to a depth of 15-20cm.
Put dry leaves on the soil for mulching.
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.

2. Hutch Box (Wooden Snail Cage)

In a hutch box, eggs and young snails can be easily located, as they are very suitable as hatchery for nursery and pens. It involves using a square or rectangular, single, or multi-chamber wooden boxes with lids, placed on wooden stands.

How to create one
The dimension should be about 100cm x 100cm x 50cm with a stand of 35cm.
The box will have cubical wooden frame.
The base of the box should be built of hard wood and perforated to allow free drainage of excess water.
After constructing the box, sieve humus or loamy soil into it to a depth of 20 – 25cm.
Cover the box with a lid made of chicken wire mesh reinforced with mosquito nets. The lid should be fitted with a padlock to discourage poachers from stealing your snails.
The stands of the cage which is 35cm high should be placed inside a container or bowl filled with water plus kerosene, used engine oil or any other disinfectants.
This is done so as to prevent insects from crawling up the box to attack the snails,snail housing/ hutch box
The soil in the hutch box must be changed occasionally because, an accumulation of droppings and slime will increase the chances of disease development.
A box of 1sqr.m can be used to rear 4 – 6 mature snails.
Pro – It can be constructed close to the farmer’s house to enable easy accessibility and supervision. The height helps greatly in facilitating feeding and handling of the snails.
Con – Relatively expensive to construct, comes in limited sizes, which restrict the number of snails that can be kept in them per time.

3. Construction of Snail House Using Old Tyres
Very cost effective and readily available in both rural and urban areas. Involves sourcing for tyres from mechanics or vulcanizer, while using them as farming structures in your home.

Due to the poor ventilation characteristics of tyres, perforating the tyres will help promote aeration in the sector.

To constructs snail housing using old tyres;
Select an appropriate site under a shade.
Stack 3 – 4 tyres upon one another as shown in the image above.After stacking, fill the tyres with suitable loamy soil to a depth of 10 – 15cm.
Cover the tyres with chicken wire and mosquito mesh, placed between the topmost tyre and the second one from the top for protection.
Car tyres can hold up to 3 – 6 snails, depending on their sizes. Tyres of larger diameters can hold between 5 – 10 mature snails.

4. Drums/Old Tanks used for Construction of Snail Pen
Got old oil drums and tanks around you, you could put them to use instead of discarding them. They are good for small-scale production of snails, especially for subsistence purposes.

To construct snail housing using oil drums or old tanks;
Perforate.
Lay sack on the bottom of the tank to hold the soil and then fill with humus or loamy soil to a depth of 10-15cm.
Place dry leaves on the soil layer as mulching.
Cover the box with a lid made of chicken wire mesh reinforced with mosquito nets.
The tank could be placed on a stand if available.

5. Trench Pen Snail House
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 leveled 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 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 according to their sizes and phase in the growing cycle. The 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 back ache because of long stooping or kneeling due to the low height of the trench.
6. 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.

The freedom to roam in large areas allows the snails to avoid each other’s slime trails. Over-slimed ground and excess faeces can change snail behaviour by putting out chemical signals like *pheromones which are detrimental to reproduction and growth rates in snails.

* A pheromone is a chemical an animal produces which changes the behavior of another animal of the same specie.

Allowing snails to breed at their own pace and encouraging the natural biological cycle in an ecological farming system, results in better breeding performance, faster rate of growth, higher reproduction yields and it meets the highest standards of quality and sustainable accountability.

The free-range snail housing system however, has its own disadvantages.

* It requires more land than other types of snail farming.
* It is difficult to locate and protect eggs and small snails.
* 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 outbreak because of the farm size.
* If you have questions or suggestions, please use the comment box below.

Source: https://naijafarmers.com/2018/08/28/how-to-create-snail-housing-in-simple-steps-what-you-should-know-about-snaileries/

Share This Post:

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: