Constructing a snailery for beginners

Constructing a snailery for beginners

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Constructing a snailery for beginners

Choosing a system: the options

The type and dimensions of your snailery or snaileries depend, obviously, on the snail growing system you choose, and on the quantity of snails you intend to produce.

As far is housing is concerned, your snail farm could be extensive, semi-intensive, or intensive, in increasing order of complexity, management and financial inputs. Three options might be considered:

- Extensive system: outdoor, free-range snail pens.

- Mixed, or semi-intensive system: egg laying and hatching occur in a controlled environment; the young snails are then removed after 6-8 weeks to outside pens for growing or fattening or both.

- Intensive: closed systems, for example plastic tunnel houses, greenhouses and buildings with controlled climate.

Regardless of the size and type of your snail farm, the housing system must meet the following conditions. It must be:

- escape-proof; snails are master-escapists and unless prevented from doing so they will quickly wander all over your (or your neighbour's) garden or house.

- 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 impedes their development and increases the risk of diseases. Suitable rearing densities range from > 100/m2 for hatchlings to 7-10/m2 for breeding snails.

- easily accessible and easy to work in or with, for handling the snails, placing feed, cleaning and other tasks.

- well-protected from insects, predators and poachers.

Also Read: How to feed snail to grow faster 

Different materials can be used for building snaileries, depending on price and availability.

Constructing a snailery for beginners

- Decay- and termite-resistant timber. In West Africa favourable tree species are iroko (Milicia excelsa, local name – odum), opepe (Naucleadiderrichii, local name – kusia), or ekki (Lophira alata, local name – kaku). In South East Asia poles can be made of a species like teak (Tectona grandis), which is widely planted in other continents as well.

- Sandcrete blocks, or mudbricks.

- Galvanized sheets, polythene sheets.

- Chicken wire, for protection.

- Mosquito nets or nylon mesh, for covering the pens as protection against insects.

- Second-hand materials, like car tyres, oil drums and old water tanks.

In addition to car tyres, oil drums and such materials, the following types of pens might be considered for simple snaileries:

- Hutch boxes

- Trench pens

- Mini-paddock pens

- Free-range pens

Car tyres, oil drums

Discarded tyres or oil drums may serve as relatively cheap snail pens.

Three or four tyres are placed on top of each other, with chicken wire and mosquito mesh between the topmost tyre and the second one from the top.

Oil drums should have some holes in the bottom for drainage, be filled with good soil to a depth of 7-10 cm, and be fitted with wire plus mosquito mesh on top.

Such pens are suitable for keeping a few snails (up to about four mature snails in each container) close to the house, for private use.

Also Read: What inputs are needed to farm crawfish

Hutch boxes


Hutch boxes are square or rectangular, single or multi-chamber wooden boxes with lids, placed on wooden stilts above the ground at a suitable height for easy handling. The stilts should be fitted 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.

The lid should be fitted with a padlock to discourage pilfering. In the floor of the box are a few holes through which excess water can drain out. The boxes are filled with sieved black soil to a depth of 18-25 cm. The box (es) should obviously be well protected from scorching sun or torrential rain.

More Guidelines Visit: How To Raise Snails



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