Once a snail farm is established, farmers should source foundation stock from reliable breeders or from agricultural institutes. Foundation stocks are set of snails use for starting breeding, they can also be referred to as parent stock.
The most reliable way of obtaining foundation stock in snail farming is from known breeders, or from agricultural institutes. Foundation stocks 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. It is recommended to use sexually mature snails, weighing at least 100-125 g, as foundation stock. Breeding should start at the onset of the wet season because that is the time snails normally start to breed. Snails are active at night and on cloudy or foggy mornings. 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.
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.
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. The stronger its shell, the better the snail is protected against predators.
I often advise intending farmers to source for their Foundation stock from reputable farms. Do not buy from market sellers. Most of the stocks there have stayed hooked without food for weeks or months in the market; they may have been demoralized; hence this might affect their reproductive potentials. Don’t fetch or buy baby snails for rearing; buy matured ones so that after they can start mating and reproduce almost immediately they get to your farm.
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