Constructing a snailery

The system you will use for your snail farming is dependent on a lot of factors such as type and size of your snailery and on the quantity of snails you intend to produce. When talking about housing for your snail, your snail farm could either be extensive, semi-intensive, or intensive, all this three types have different financial implications.

 The Extensive system is known as the outdoor and free-range snail pens while the Intensive is when your use a closed systems, for example plastic tunnel houses, greenhouses and buildings with controlled climate for your snail farm. The third type is called semi-intensive system which is a mixture of both intensive and extensive in this type egg laying and hatching occur in a controlled environment just like the intensive while the young snails are then removed after 6-8 weeks to outside pens for growing or fattening or both.

The following condition must be met whichever system you choose to use it must be escape-proof because Snails are extremely strong (they can lift 10-50 times their own weight!) for their size and could lift a lid that isn't clipped or weighted down. Another condition is that it must be spacious, in accordance with the growing stage of the snails (hatchlings, juveniles, breeding snails, or mature snails fattened for consumption). Snails suffer from overcrowding, which hinder their development and increases the risk of diseases. The most suitable rearing densities range from > 100/m2 for hatchlings to 7-10/m2 for your snail farming. The snailery must be easily accessible and easy to work in, for easy access to the snails, placing of food, cleaning and other tasks and also must be well-protected from insects, predators and poachers.

The following are types of houses that you can use for your snail farming

Hutch boxes

Hutch boxes are square or rectangular boxes which constructed with wood it can be in single or multi-chamber wooden boxes with lids, this structure can be placed on a wooden stilts above the ground at an appropriate height for easy handling. The stands should be built with plastic or metal conical protectors or aprons, to prevent vermin from crawling or climbing up the stilts to attack the snails in the boxes. The protectors could be made from old tins or plastic bottles. In the middle of the lid is an opening covered with wire netting and nylon mesh. Padlock should be fitted with it to avoid pilfering. There should be proper drainage access, you can make few holes at the floor of the box for the passage excess water.
Hutch boxes can be used when practising semi-intensive snail breeding system as this can be used as hatchery and nursery pens so that eggs and young snails can be easily located and observed.

Car tyres, oil drums

One of the materials you could use for your snail farm are discarded tyres or oil drums which relatively cheap snail pens are saving you some cost. You can place three or four tyres on top of each other, with chicken wire and mosquito mesh between the topmost tyre and the second one from the top. If you are using Oil drums you put some holes in the bottom for drainage, filled it with good soil to a depth of 7-10 cm, and fitted with wire mesh on top.

Trench pens
You can also make use of Trench pens which are adjoining snail pens of 0.6 × 0.6 m to 1 × 1 m, that is either dug into the ground which must be very well-drained or you can raise it above the ground like 40-50 cm above the ground. Build an outside walls and inner partitions consist with a sandcrete blocks or mud bricks in either case. Fill it with suitable soil to a depth of 10-15cm and cover it with wooden or steel frame lids with wire mesh with padlocks fitted to the openings. Make sure the pens are well protected from the sun or any fierce heat and also heavy rain.

Trench pens are used both in semi-intensive and intensive snail farming. They can be used as hatchery, nursery or fattening pens, with the number of stock being adapted to the size of the snails in each case.

Snail Farming/ Trench Pen

Free-range pens
A free-range pen can be made from a fenced area of up to 10 × 20 m or bigger depending on the quantity of snails you want to rear. You can plant different types of plants, shrubs and trees that will provide food and shelter from wind, sun and rain and make sure the ground of the area is suitable enough for the snails.
If the fence is constructed of with fine chicken wire mesh, the overhang is not compulsory because snails dislike crawling on wire-mesh. The fence must be dug at least 20 cm into the ground. The free-range pen might even be completely enclosed and roofed.

The best thing about the free range is that in the extensive snail farm the entire life cycle of the snail develops within the open pen: mating, egg laying, hatching, hatchling development, and growth of the snails to maturity and also Snails feed on the plants provided in the pen thereby reducing the feeding stress upon the farmer. It can also serve as the sole snail enclosure in an extensive snail farming system, or as growing and fattening pens in a semi-intensive one.
Snail Farming/ free range

The free range system make the snail feel at home because it looks a lot like their natural habitat so there development is rapid, They will take shelter in the vegetation or the soil during the day, coming out at night to feed. Another good thing about it is that it is relatively cheap to build and maintain Management is restricted to occasional replanting of food and shelter plants


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