Snail Breeding And Management

Snail Breeding And Management

Snail Breeding And Management is a free article on snail Farmer startup guide. Actually, the knowledge of Snail Breeding And Management gives you an edge in snail farming success. Although, snails are hermaphrodites generally, (i.e. they have male and female parts). In most species the individuals mate with each other before laying eggs.

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In extensive snail farming in free-range pens, the snails follow their natural life cycle. Interference from the snail farmer is restricted to the daily removal of any dead snails, refilling watering troughs, keeping the soil moist in the dry season, and occasionally harvesting mature snails for sale or for the cooking pot.

Similarly in semi-intensive or intensive snail farming the farmer will actively manage the snails during the successive stages of their life cycle: egg laying, hatching, growing and maturity. Management activities proceed in tune with the snails’ life cycle, which in turn follows the seasons with their periods of snail activity and of dormancy (aestivation during the dry seasons). (Note: Domesticated snails continue to lay eggs in the rainy and dry seasons).

Selecting Breeding Stock

It is recommended to use sexually mature snails, weighing at least 100-125 g, as initial breeding stock. Farming should preferably start at the onset of the wet season, because that is the time snails normally start to breed. Until snail farms become self-sustaining, farmers may have to collect snails from the wild or buy them cheaply in the peak season and fatten them in captivity in the off season.

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In relatively undisturbed forest areas, snails can be collected on days following rains. Snails are active at night and on cloudy or foggy mornings. Likewise, During the day they tend to keep well hidden, so it is best to collect them at night or early in the morning, when the sun is low and the humidity high.

Purchasing Breeding Stock

Furthermore, Farmers purchasing breeding stock from snail gatherers or from the market should expect a fairly high level of mortality as a result of poor handling and the adjustment to different foods. The most reliable way of obtaining parental stock is from known breeders, or from agricultural institutes. Such parent snails might be more expensive than snails from other sources, but they are better and safer because they have been properly fed and managed from hatching, and have not been damaged during collection and subsequent handling.

Snail Farm Setup

Once the snail farm is established, farmers should select breeding stock from their own snails. Breeding stock must be selected in the wet season preceding aestivation, based on the following attributes:

  • Fecundity (expected number of eggs, based on numbers laid in previous seasons)
  • Hatchability (percentage of eggs likely to hatch out of the total number laid) .
    Establishment rate (percentage of snails likely to survive after hatching)

Growth Rate Shell Strength

Simple records kept by snail farmers can provide the necessary information. As a general rule, the fastest growers with the strongest shells should be selected as breeding stock. Also, the stronger its shell, the better the snail is protected against predators.


Snails selected as breeding stock are placed in hutch boxes or trench pens, which must contain feed and water troughs. Some farmers let snails lay eggs in the grower pens, and then transfer the eggs to the nursery boxes or pens, but this is not recommended. It may be difficult to locate the eggs, and the eggs may be physically damaged during the transfer.

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A breeding snail may lay one to three egg masses (clutches) per season. The number of breeding snails placed in a hutch box/ snail cage depends on the fertility of the group and on the number of young snails required. The latter depends on the pen space available. After egg laying, the parent snails should be returned to their grower pens. In forest snails, large differences have been observed in egg production within and between populations. Generally, snails lay between 100 and 400 eggs. The eggs are broadly oval and measure about 5 mm long. They are usually laid in round-shaped holes dug 2-5 cm deep in the soil. Occasionally they are laid on the soil surface or at the base of plants. Snail eggs require a certain amount of warmth to induce hatching.
They usually hatch 12-20 days after laying.

Forest Snails

In forest snails, the baby snails have light-brown shells with black stripes. They should be kept in the boxes and fed on vegetable or fruit leaves (like cocoyam and paw paw leaves), fruits (preferably paw paw), powdered oyster shells and water until they are big enough to move to grower pens. Young snails do best if they are kept with snails of the same size.

Furthermore, the eggs of the city girl are small (4 mm) and are laid in clutches of 10 to 400; usually a parent snail lays several clutches in a year. Hatchlings remain 5-15 days underground before emerging.
The eggs of swamp snail are quite large (17 × 12 mm) and egg clutches are small (4-18 eggs). A parent snail may produce several clutches a year. The incubation period is around 4 weeks. Hatchlings remain underground for 2-5 days after hatching.

Rearing Density

Density affects the growth and breeding capacity of snails. High density populations tend to grow slowly, develop into smaller adults, and lay fewer clutches of eggs and fewer eggs per clutch. If the snails are very densely packed, they may not breed at all. The accumulating slime suppresses reproduction. Other disadvantages of high density are the high rates of parasitism and ease of transmission of diseases. In terms of snail weight, the recommended density is 1-1.5 kg per m2 (for the forest snail, this would be about 15 to 25 snails per square meter).
Furthermore, It is best to start a snail farm with as low a density as possible. As the farmer becomes more familiar with snail habits and with managing the enterprise, the numbers could be increased.

Seasonal And Daily Management

As in any livestock farming operation, good management practices are the key to success. Seasonal activities, as described below, follow the march of the seasons of West Africa, with breeding and egg laying in March through July. Note that domesticated snails may continue laying during the dry season as well.
The successive stages of the life cycle of snails are: egg laying, hatching, growing and maturity. In semi-intensive or intensive snail farming, farmers keep and care for hatchlings, growers and breeding snails in separate hutch boxes or pens.


Hatchlings require more humid conditions than adult snails. They should be fed tender leaves, such as paw paw and/or cocoyam, and a calcium supplement for good shell development. The soil in their pens should be kept moist and enough water should be provided. The pens should be fitted with small gauze wire mesh or nylon mesh; otherwise the small snails will escape. Hatchlings and juveniles may be kept at a density of around 100/m2.

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Similarly, Growers should be transferred to separate pens at around 3 months of age, at a stocking density of 30-40 snails/m2. Breeders start to lay eggs at sexual maturity, at the age of 10 to 12 months.


Futyhermore, Breeders start to lay eggs at sexual maturity, at the age of 10 to 12 months. They should be transferred to boxes or pens at a density of 10-15 snails/m2. The soil should be loosened to facilitate egg laying. The breeders’ food must be rich in crude protein and calcium. Any eggs found on the surface must be buried promptly to a depth of 1 to 2cm. Before hatching, the soil on top of the clutches might be loosened or the breeders must be removed to their growing pens soon after the hatchlings emerge. Adults no longer required for breeding and are kept in fattening pens until ready for sale or consumption.


stocking densities mentioned are indications. The general stocking density guideline of 1-1.5 kg snail/m2 should always be kept in mind!

Daily management involves several activities:


Snails should be fed after sunset. The feed must not be stale or moldy. Leftovers should be removed the following morning. Water should be replenished.


Also, Check whether wire mesh and mosquito netting are intact; repair where necessary. Clean the pens. Keep doors or covers of the snail pens closed and locked.


Keep the soil moist by mulching and watering if necessary in the dry season. Never add fresh poultry droppings to the soil. The soil in the cage should be changed every three months.


Check pens for any dead snails; remove them immediately. Do not use insecticides or herbicides in your snailery. Handle your snails carefully and wash them with fresh water from time to time.
To wash snail, lay the mouth in your hand and carefully wash the back (shell).


Similarly, Record inputs and output of your snail farm daily. Include your own labor or that of family members, and inputs, like food or repairs to the pens.
9.5 Snail farming tools and equipment
Besides the customary gardening tools (shovel, hoe, rake, cutlass, broom), the following equipment and tools are needed in successful snail farming;

  • Firstly, small weighing scale, for weighing snails;
  • Secondly, feed measuring tape, for measuring pens;
  • Thirdly, snails hand trowel, for digging in and cleaning out the pens;
  • water container and watering can, for keeping the soil moist and refilling water and
  • Also, feeding troughs or dishes; and
  • most important: a notebook, for carefully recording inputs (e.g. labour, materials and feed) and output of the snail farming venture.

Simple Difference Between Snail (Achatina Achatina and Achatina Marginata)


Snail’s sales


Different snail sizes for sale


Snail Meat Washing and buying


Snail Supply To Farmers And Other Users

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Snail farming on breeder supply

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