Feeding in snail farming is the act or process of supplying foods or food materials to the snail. Feeding is an important managerial practice in snail rearing, it accounts for how well your snails look, grow and how healthy they are, feeding just like in human is a daily practice, most times happens more than once or twice in a day depending on the farmer and his management plan, Here, we will discuss what snails eat, benefits of proper feeding of your snail, and how-to sources for your snail food.
Snails, being Carnivorous and sometimes herbivorous animal is dynamic in their feeding need, their demand for food can also be affected by the climatic change because they change their nature in response to change in weather condition (Snails eat more wet and moist food and demand more water during dry season).
The importance of feeding in snail rearing cannot be overemphasized. It is pertinent to how much of profit you make out of your farm.
It is important to know that proper feeding implies feeding the snails with the right proportion of food and not necessarily about constantly supplying them with food. Therefore, the content of the food is more important than how many times you supply them with food. Here are the benefits of proper feeding in snail farming.
Benefits of proper feeding in snail farming
- Proper feeding improves the health of your snail.
- Well feed snails are not found wanting health-wise, so there will be fewer expenses on medication. That is to say, you save money from medication by properly feeding your snail.
- it reduces the vulnerability of the snails to disease and infection; proper feeding increases the snail’s ability to resist diseases and infection. This is a common occurrence in farm animals, feeding boost the immune systems and improves their ability to withstand attack by pathogens and other disease-causing organisms.
- Properly feed snails have a high market value; when snails are feed properly, it shows in their look, they tend to be more vibrant and respond to touch, stimulus and changes quickly, these are features most retailers and buyers lookout for, once your snails are found wanting in these features, their price automatically goes down unlike when they exhibit these features in the market.
- Proper feeding of your snails generally reduces the cost of managing your farm, just like stated above, proper feeding entails feeding the snails with the right proportion of food and not necessarily about constantly supplying them with food.When properly fed, the farmer doesn’t have to spend money on other unforeseen circumstances that could have occurred due to improper feeding, this makes sure that the farmer spends less and sale at a higher price in the market.
- It generally reduces the burden of managing your snails, because, they hardly get infected as they can boast of a boosted immune system, healthier life, and quick response. Snails don’t necessarily eat constantly when feed properly, they tend to have a reduced feeding system.
When your snails are feed with food material containing a right proportion of nutrient and in large quantity, the food tends to stay longer in them because the nutrient content is in large quantity and proportion, so it takes a while for the nutrient to be exhausted, this is unlikely to happen when you feed your snails with food materials that have a low amount of nutrient as required by the snail, the little amount of nutrient the snails will extract from such food will be used up faster and there will need to eat another food to maintain good health.
So, constantly feeding off the snails with food materials that have low nutrient content leads to more expenses on food as to when compared to feeding them with food materials that have the required nutrients in the right proportion.
How to source for snail food
Snail food is everywhere, it all depends on your choice and what your snails prefer to eat as at the time of sourcing for their food, many farmers prefer to formulate their by themselves, some prefer to by in the market, whichever method suits your need and budget, there is none better than the other, what is most important is that you feed them with the right proportion of food, snail needs calcium a lot for shell formation, their food should take into consideration, their need and how fast you want them to mature. Their food should also contain a good quantity of protein and minerals.
What do snail eat?
Snails eat different varieties of food; they are constantly changing in their food demand as they grow into maturity. Newly born snails require a lot of calcium for the development and thickening of the shell.
The food demand by snail can be grouped into many categories according to the nutrient content, this ranges from protein, carbohydrate, vitamin, fat, and oil and mineral.
Feed your snails with plant Protein containing food materials such as Cowpea, Soya beans, groundnut cake, dried Moringa leaves, and dried cassava leaves (blended to powder).
Feed the snails with Animal dungs, animal offal, cow, fish, and meat are also a good source of animal protein for snails.
Minerals or Calcium
Shells and bones such as Bone meal, eggshell, and burnt snails shell are all good sources of mineral and food for snail.
Note that calcium is very important in snail food; it is good for shell development in snail.
Sources of vitamin
Fruits and green vegetables like; Watermelon, cucumber, Tomatoes, ripe banana, plantain, pawpaw unripe, and ripe, sweet potato leaves are all good sources of vitamins for snail . They can be supplied to the snail daily or within an interval of two or three days to enhance their growth and development.
Fat and Oil
Groundnut and Palm Kernel oil are good source of fat and oil for snail.
Maize products, Rice, Cassava waste, Yam, Mills, Wheat are all good sources of carbohydrate for snail.
The mode and timing of feeding are dependent on the farmer and is decided based on what works for his/her snails, how they have been trained from the onset. We noticed that some snail framers feed their snails once daily, some twice and some even once in two days, this rationing is dependent on your need, how fast you want them to mature, your budget and the purpose with which you decided to train your snail.
You can check our previous post exclusively on sources of nutrients for your snail by clicking here.
Conclusively, feeding is quite an important management practice. It plays an important role in the marketing aspect of your farm, how much they are priced in the market, how your snails look and it also reduces the need for constant medication. Supplying your snail with the right proportion of food should be your priority as a snail farmer. It aids in their general growth and saves the running cost of your snail farm.