How does the snail shells' fertilizer compare to regular fertilizers?

How does the snail shells' fertilizer compare to regular fertilizers?

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May I ask about the quality of the fertilizer derived from the shells and their effectiveness compared to other fertilizers on the market ?

Malaysian Trumpet Snails may be called Malaysian Burrowing Snails, Malaysian Live Bearing Snails, Malaysian Sails, MTS, Trumpet Snails, or simply Trumpets.

As a pet: Malaysian Trumpet Snails can make interesting pets for some aquarists. Under the right conditions, Trumpet Snails can be an asset to an aquatic environment. This is especially true in tanks with live plants. Malaysian Trumpet Snails are so common that pet stores may throw a few in for free with another purchase. If purchasing Trumpet Snails, look for specimens that appear to be moving or affixed to hard surfaces. Avoid snails that are lying motionless or upside-down on the tank bottom. Also avoid purchasing snails kept in display tanks with dead, dying or diseased tank mates.

As a pest: To some hobbyists, Malaysian Trumpet Snails are an unwanted, invasive and annoying pest. They are quick to reproduce and their numbers can increase in no time. Malaysian Trumpet Snails can find their way into tanks inadvertently, most often as hitch hikers catching a ride on live plants. Whether Malaysian Trumpet Snails are considered pet or pest depends on each individual hobbyist and the tank they are trying to keep.


Heliciculture for food production has huge potential and new opportunities for rural development and young entrepreneurs in Italy. No studies have yet been performed on the environmental performance of snail rearing which also might be a beneficial tool for producers. The aim of the present paper is to evaluate the impact of snail meat by a cradle-to-farm gate life cycle assessment centred on the carbon footprint (CF).

The study considered greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions linked to cultivation stages (indoor breeding, outdoor fattening, cleaning out and packaging) of Helix aspersa maxima meat production in a semi-intensive rearing system in Southern Italy. The shell potential for CO2 sequestration was also taken into account.

Snail CF amounted to 0.7 kg CO2 eq per kg fresh edible meat, with the highest share (about 60%) from the supplementary feeding production. Due to the combined effect of relevant amount input and restrained lifetime of HDPE mesh applied in the open field, the impact of breeding enclosures appeared considerable (about 29%). Greenhouse gas emissions linked to fodder cultivation and to the cleaning-out phase appeared restrained (nearly 4% and 5%, respectively), whilst the share of reproduction system, irrigation and packaging was negligible (< 1%).

The environmental load of supplementary feeding resulted to mainly ascribable (about 74%) to maize and field bean grain cultivation (for feed mixture). It was followed by grain transport (about 17%) and processing (about 4%) to feed mill and further transport of manufactured feed components (maize–field bean–limestone) to the snail farm (about 5%). The CF score might be reduced by 18%, including potential long term CO2 sequestration in shells. As compared to other conventional macro-livestock meat sources, snail meat showed reduced GHG emissions.

Value for money

You can compare the value of different liming materials by checking NV and fineness against spread cost.

(Fineness × NV) ÷ 100 = efficiency

(Spread cost × 100) ÷ efficiency = comparative cost

For example:

Lime ALime B
Fineness: 50
NV: 95
$70/tonne spread
(50 × 95) ÷ 100 = 47.50
($70 × 100) ÷ 47.50 = $147.37/tonne
Fineness 100
NV: 99
$90/tonne spread
(100 × 99) ÷ 100 = 99
($90 × 100) ÷ 99 = $90.91/tonne

Lime B is comparatively cheaper because its fineness makes it more efficient at neutralising acidity.

Fertilizer and Mulch Dangers for Dogs

Getting ready to work in the garden this summer? Before you do so, make sure you know about potential garden dangers that can poison your dog. When in doubt, keep your pets inside while working with some of these common garden or yard additives.

During the spring and fall, homeowners often use fertilizers to spruce up their lawn. Fertilizers come in two types: granules or water-based products (that are directly sprayed onto the lawn).

Fertilizers look scary – they often are applied by lawn services with warning signs stating that children and pets should be kept off the grass for at least 72 hours. In actuality, fertilizers are generally pretty benign in fact, they typically have a wide margin of safety depending on what type of product is used.

What’s in fertilizer?
Most lawn fertilizers contain natural elements (such as nitrogen, potash and phosphorous) — often represented by numbers such as 10:0:40. Thankfully, these elements are generally non-toxic. Fertilizers may also contain insecticides for killing grubs, snails, etc. that generally result in mild gastrointestinal signs (e.g., drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.) when ingested directly from the bag.

If your dog eats some grass that had fertilizer applied to it, it rarely leads to serious poisoning that said, more serious signs can be seen when the product is directly ingested (i.e., right out of the bag). If ingested directly from the bag, the results can include tremors and seizures.

To avoid any poisoning risk to your pet, follow the labeled instructions carefully and keep your pets inside while you apply these products to the lawn. To be safe, keep your pets off the lawn until the product is absorbed by the soil (e.g., when the product dries if it’s a spray-on product, or after it rains if it is a pelleted product). When appropriately applied or diluted, these chemicals typically wash into the soil after rainfall, resulting in low-risk to dogs.

The most important thing is to make sure it’s not a fertilizer that has more dangerous products in it – some may contain iron, which can result in iron poisoning, and less common types may contain very dangerous insecticides such as carbamates or organophosphates. Thankfully, the EPA has limited the availability of these latter, more dangerous types of products. Carbamates and organophosphates can result in more serious, life-threatening clinical signs such as:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Severe lethargy/collapse
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive tearing
  • Urination
  • Abnormal heart rates
  • Difficulty breathing (due to bronchoconstriction)
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Death

Again, these more dangerous types are rarely seen on the market nowadays but, when in doubt, make sure to keep the garage door locked and these fertilizers out of reach!

Organic fertilizers (e.g., meals)
Surprisingly, the more dangerous types of fertilizers are organic fertilizers. Most pet owners want to use “safer” products around their pets, and so they often reach for something organic. Organic fertilizers are typically “natural” fertilizers that are leftover byproducts from the meatpacking or farming industry. Examples include:

These organic “meals” are widely utilized as soil amendment products, fertilizer components, or as deer, rabbit and wildlife repellants. These products are often highly palatable to dogs they smell gross, but good to dogs, and so they may tempt a massive ingestion (e.g., dogs ingesting several pounds of bone meal directly out of the bag). Another danger? Gardeners often mix organic fertilizers with other more dangerous fertilizers or chemicals (e.g., organophosphates or carbamates found in some older types of rose fertilizers spring bulbs etc.), resulting in dual poisoning with another product.

When meals are ingested, they can result in gastrointestinal irritation (e.g., vomiting, diarrhea, etc.), foreign body obstruction (from all the bone meal congealing into a large bowling-ball-like concretion), or even severe pancreatitis (i.e., inflammation of the pancreas). Treatment includes:

  • A thorough examination at your veterinarian’s office
  • Inducing vomiting
  • Xrays (to see if the material has passed out of the stomach or not)
  • Fluid therapy
  • Anti-vomiting medication
  • A bland diet.

Rarely, with massive ingestions, “pumping the stomach” (i.e., gastric lavage) may be necessary to get the product out of the stomach. Thankfully, most dogs do well with prompt treatment and supportive care.

If you’re about to mulch your yard, pay heed! Most types of mulch are benign, but can result in a foreign body if your dog ingests them. Mulch is typically shredded tree bark, but can also come in different forms (e.g., compost or decaying matter cocoa mulch etc.). Cocoa mulch (which is made up from shells or hulls from the cocoa bean) is often used for home landscaping it’s very fragrant when first placed in the yard, and smells faintly of chocolate. As a result, dogs may be tempted to ingest it. While many Internet sites discuss the dangers of cocoa mulch, it’s relatively rare for dogs to be poisoned by it. That said, there is still a small amount of theobromine (the chemical that results in chocolate poisoning) remaining in the mulch and when ingested in large amounts, this can cause signs of chocolate poisoning.

Signs of cocoa mulch poisoning include:

  • Not eating
  • Drooling/hypersalivating
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Hyperactivity
  • A racing heart rate
  • Constant panting
  • Dark red gums
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

The severity of clinical signs from chocolate poisoning will depend on how much cocoa mulch is ingested in general, one or two licks or bites will not cause a problem. Regardless, make sure to keep the mulch out of reach of your dog for the first few weeks. Between sun, heat, and rain exposure, the likelihood of poisoning diminishes with time as the smell of chocolate rapidly dissipates.

What if my dog was poisoned by mulch or fertilizer?
If you suspect that your dog may have been exposed to something poisonous, contact your veterinarian or emergency veterinarian immediately. When in doubt, call ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. They may be able to instruct you on how to induce vomiting and whether or not there is a poisoning risk.

Most importantly, keep your dog safe this summer by keeping these garden and yard poisons out of reach! Lock your garage, keep your dog on a leash or supervised when outside, and make sure to store lawn and garden products in secure containers!

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.


At least 14 species of apple snail (Ampullariidae) have been released to water bodies outside their native ranges however, less than half of these species have become widespread or caused appreciable impacts. We review evidence for the impact of apple snails on natural and managed wetlands focusing on those studies that have elucidated impact mechanisms. Significant changes in wetland ecosystems have been noted in regions where the snails are established: Two species in particular (Pomacea canaliculata and Pomacea maculata) have become major pests of aquatic crops, including rice, and caused enormous increases in molluscicide use. Invasive apple snails have also altered macrophyte community structure in natural and managed wetlands through selective herbivory and certain apple snail species can potentially shift the balance of freshwater ecosystems from clear water (macrophyte dominated) to turbid (plankton dominated) states by depleting densities of native aquatic plants. Furthermore, the introductions of some apple snail species have altered benthic community structure either directly, through predation, or indirectly, through exploitation competition or as a result of management actions. To date much of the evidence for these impacts has been based on correlations, with few manipulative field or mesocosm experiments. Greater attention to impact monitoring is required, and, for Asia in particular, a landscape approach to impact management that includes both natural and managed-rice wetlands is recommended.


► We review literature of the spread and impact of apple snails in the tropics and subtropics. ► At least fourteen species of apple snail have been introduced to regions outside their native range. ► Apple snails have altered macrophyte and benthic community structure in invaded wetlands. ► Apple snails shift the balance of freshwater ecosystems from clear water to turbid states. ► Landscape approaches to research that links agri- and natural ecosystems are required.

A quick Google search will reveal hundreds of articles about the wonders of eggshells in the garden. Use them for everything from pest control to fertilizer. But do the claims hold water? Let’s take a look at the apparent benefits to using eggshells in the garden and find out which have some merit and which you can ignore.

Egg Shells for Pest Control

Claim #1: Eggshells are the ideal organic pest control solution for soft-bodied insects like slugs and snails. The sharp edges of shell slice through insect bodies and keep them from feasting on your plants.

The reality: Simply put, this doesn’t work. I say that from experience because I tried it as a young gardener and still had slugs eating my lettuce. It’s a myth. Slugs will easily find a way around or climb over the shards unscathed. I’ve watched slugs slide over eggshells without a care in the world. The shells aren’t sharp enough to pierce their little bodies. You’ll have better luck with diatomaceous earth.

Claim #2: Eggshells repel deer since the smell repulses them. Spreading eggshells in and around the garden will keep deer from munching on your plants.

The reality: I’ve seen this claim in more than a dozen places online, and while I can’t find any scientific study to refute this claim, I highly doubt it’s something that will make a marked difference, especially if you have a severe deer problem. Plus, leaving whole eggshells in your garden may attract small mammal pests to your garden. That said, some people swear by it, so give it a go if you’re looking for a natural deer repellent.

Claim #3: Eggshells can be used in place of diatomaceous earth.

The reality: Nope. They’re not the same. Eggshells don’t repel pests. They don’t have the same properties as diatomaceous earth. Even though they look similar, they don’t work the same way.

Egg Shells as Fertilizer

Claim #1: Placing crushed eggshells around your plants is an easy way to provide organic nutrients.

The reality: Over time, eggshells will eventually break down but it takes a while, and if you have an immediate calcium deficiency, placing crushed eggshells around the base of your plants won’t do much. Also, eggshells don’t contain significant amounts of any essential garden macronutrients, so they should not replace your regular fertilizing routine. They’re a good option if you are looking for a long-term, slow method of adding nutrients to your earth.

Claim #2: Handle a calcium deficiency and issues like blossom end rot by adding crushed eggshells to your garden.

The reality: Always test your soil before assuming the problem is a nutrient deficiency. Incorrect pH or other issues (like over or under watering) can contribute to deficiencies. If your plants aren’t able to absorb nutrients in the soil, they’ll develop problems, even if they have access to all the nutrients they need in the soil. Direct application of any type of fertilizer won’t necessarily resolve the issue if your plants aren’t able to access nutrients.

Claim #3: You can soak eggshells and make a calcium-rich tea to use in the garden.

The reality: Eggshells soaked in water actually don’t release much calcium at all. In fact, the amount is extremely minuscule. Any benefit you notice from doing so is probably a result of watering.

Egg Shells in the Compost Bin

Claim #1: Eggshells are perfect additions for your home compost bin or for your city’s brown bin.

The reality: Adding eggshells to your compost is perfectly fine. Just be aware that they break down slowly (slow enough that they’ve actually been found in archeological digs!). Crush or crumble shells to speed up decomposition.

Claim #2: They make an excellent addition to vermicompost.

The reality: Yes! This one is true. Red wigglers love crushed eggshells. The gritty shells allow the worms to grind up other food bits they’ve consumed. Like birds, worms have what’s called a crop and don’t digest food the same way humans and mammals do, so eggshells help with digestion.

Egg Shells as a No-Cost Seed Starting Vessel

The claim: Use spent eggshells to start seedlings without spending a dime. Some people recommend using half of a cracked eggshell filled with seed starting mix to plant seeds in.

The reality: As a last-ditch option, egg shells will work to start seeds, but they won’t be suitable for long. A half a shell doesn’t offer much space for a seedling. Whoever tells you that starting in an eggshell provides added nutrients to your baby plants is misinformed, as well. Your plants can’t suck the calcium right out of the shell, in order to provide nutrients the shell must decompose to release calcium and other trace elements.

My suggestion? If you’re short on money, head to the dollar store to find cheap seed starting tools in the springtime. I’m a big fan of using solo cups. If you have a bit of extra cash, invest in heavy-duty trays that can be reused year after year and you won’t have to waste time cracking and filling tiny eggshells with soil.

Egg Shells as Mulch

The claim: Crushed egg shells are an excellent mulch alternative and help conserve moisture and deter weeds.

The reality: There are plenty of superior mulch options. To be effective, you’d need a whole lot of spent egg shells. Don’t waste your time on this. Use compost, leaf mold, straw, or wood chips for mulch instead.

Direct Application of Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are an excellent free source of nitrogen, an element all plants need. A common misconception about coffee grounds as a fertilizer is that it may cause problems because of high acidity. But coffee grounds are close to neutral, with a pH between 6.5 and 6.8, making them a good choice for all plants. Each type of plant will prefer a different amount of coffee, so start small by adding 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds around each plant, lightly working it into the soil once a week. Observe how your plants react and add more each week until they stop showing signs of improvement.

Will I be able to tell if I am feeding my plants the wrong amount?

Yes, and luckily, the signs that your plants have a nutrient imbalance are easily recognizable.

Too much nitrogen produces dark green foliage, few or no flowers or fruits and burnt leaf tips. Too little nitrogen produces light green to yellow leaves and slow growth, especially in the lower leaves of older plants.

An excess of phosphorous is rare, yet when it does occur symptoms are similar to an excess of nitrogen. A phosphorous deficiency is revealed by deep green, red or purple leaves, few blooms and fruits, yellowing bottom leaves and stunted growth.

Potassium toxicity will create nitrogen, phosphorous and trace mineral imbalances. Potassium deficiency produces very tall plants with weak stems as well as leaf tips and edges turning yellow, then brown later.

Too much calcium and magnesium increase potassium problems, and can also inhibit reciprocal uptake of each other. Too little calcium will cause young leaf tips to die back, blossom end rot on tomato fruits, short roots, stunted growth and rotten plant centers. Magnesium deficiencies show up in leaf tips turning brown and curling upwards in a hook shape.

Snail meal

Golden apple snail, apple snail, channeled applesnail [English] Appelslak [Dutch] Apfelschnecke [German] caracol manzana, ampularia [Spanish] Aruá [Portuguese] Siput murbai [Bahasa Indonesia] Elma salyangozu [Turkish] Ốc bươu vàng [Vietnamese] بوميساكا كاناليكاتا [Arabic] 福寿螺 [Chinese] 왕우렁이 [Korean] スクミリンゴガイ[Japanese] อังกฤษ [Thai]

Products: live snails, fresh snail meat, snail meal, fresh snail meal, dried snail meal, ensiled snail meal [English]

Snails are plentiful in some regions. They can also be introduced and raised on agricultural waste provided that they cannot escape and become a threat for the environment. They can be collected and processed into a viable supplementary source of protein that can be used to replace other animal protein sources in feed rations.

A notable snail species that can be used to feed livestock is the golden apple snail (Pomacea canaliculata and other Ampullariidae species).

The golden apple snail (Pomacea canaliculata) is a freshwater snail indigenous to South America. It was introduced into South-East Asia as an aquarium species in 1980. In Taiwan, it was introduced as a new human food resource (Mochida, 1991). It was later farmed as a high-protein food for both humans and farm animals, particularly for ducks and fish.

It escaped into waterways and soon became a major pest of rice in many countries, notably into the Philippines and Vietnam, damaging young rice seedlings and causing poor crop stands, yield losses and additional expenses. Six years after its introduction in the Philippines, the golden apple snail had invaded about 3.6% of the total area planted with rice (GISD, 2012 Cagauan et al., 2002a). It has also invaded the southern parts of the USA as well as Hawaii, where it is a major pest of taro cultivation. In addition to being a crop pest, it poses a serious threat to many wetlands through potential habitat modification and competition with native species. Total eradication of established populations is nearly impossible. In rice and taro fields, one of the most successful methods is hand picking done as a community effort on a regular basis. After collection the snails can be used for human consumption or as animal feed for fish, prawns, pigs and other livestock species (GISD, 2012).

There are different ways to prepare snails for animal feeding.

Apple snails can be fed live, freshly dead or processed. Live snails are eaten directly by fish and ducks in ponds and rice fields. Collected snails can be fed whole or without shells (snail meat). Whole snails or snail meat is fed fresh or ensiled, cooked and/or dried. Snail shells can be a source of minerals similar to oyster shells. A kg of whole snails, when washed and unshelled, yields about 250 g of fresh snail meat and 100 g of dried snail meat (Ulep et al., 1991). Because fresh snail meat spoils easily, cooking, drying or ensiling should be considered whenever the snails cannot be eaten immediately.

Live snails and fresh snail meat

Live apple snails are a good feed for ducks, which are used in rice fields for natural apple snail population control (Pantua et al., 1992). Fish such as carp and tilapia have been tested as potential control agents (Cagauan et al., 2002b Halwart, 2006).

Fresh snail meat can be prepared as follows: the snails are cleaned, washed and crushed and the shells are separated from the meat (Salazar et al., 2003). A preliminary step may involve purging the snails for two days (Ulep et al., 1995).

Snail meal

Various methods for producing snail meal have been described in the literature. Some authors recommend boiling the snails first in order to kill them, to remove pathogens and to facilitate the separation of the meat from the shell (Ulep et al., 1991). The resulting snail meat can be fed fresh or be sun-dried/oven-dried and then ground.

It is important to note that while apple snails are numerous, purchasing snail meat can be expensive because the price includes the labour costs of removing the shells and chopping. In Laos, this cost was estimated at 27% of the total cost of pig diets. Farmers who collect and process the snails themselves may get a more direct economic benefit than those who buy snail meat (Kaensombath et al., 2005a).

In the papers cited in the rest of this contribution, apple snail meal refers to snail meat and does not include the shells unless stated otherwise.

Fresh snail meal

Snails are cleaned, washed and then crushed. Shells are separated from the meat. The meat is ready to be mixed with fish meal or soybean oil meal (Salazar et al., 2003).

Dried snail meal

After removing from the shell, the visceral mass is washed in alum solution to remove slime, then washed again, cut into small pieces and transferred into an oven to dry at 60-70°C for 72h. It can then be ground.

Ensiled snail meal

Making silage from apple snail meat has been described as a low cost and simple method for small-scale production (Kaensombath et al., 2005c). Many ensiling processes have been assessed and are described hereafter:

  • After snail meat extraction, washing in clear water, drainage and chopping into 0.5-1.0 cm long pieces, snail meal was complemented with a source of carbohydrates (1 kg per 1, 2 or 3 kg snail meat) such as molasses and/or rice bran to start the ensiling process. Silage was then stored for 24 weeks (Kaensombath et al., 2005a).
  • After meat extraction, chopping and grinding, the addition of 15-20% molasses resulted, after 28 days in closely tight plastic bags, in satisfactory silage with a brownish colour and a pleasant smell (Phonekhampheng et al., 2009). Snails ensiled with citric acid deteriorated rapidly.
  • After boiling whole snails in water for 2 min, meat was extracted, minced and blanched for 5 min, and then mixed with molasses and inoculated with lactic acid bacteria. Silage was done during 15 days and pH dropped from 8 to 4 (Rattanaporn et al., 2006).

Invasive species

The use in animal feeding of invasive snails species such as the golden apple snail is a way to control their development and limit their environmental impact.

Ducks are commonly used for the biological control of apple snails in paddies and taro patches. Both Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and Muscovy ducks (Cairina moschata) are used although the former is preferred by farmers (Serra, 1997). Ducks can be introduced to the fields after harvest and be removed from it before rice transplanting, or they can be introduced to the paddies three weeks after transplanting. Duck stocking rates suggested for snail control are highly variable, ranging from 5-10 ducks/ha in Malaysia (Teo, 2001) to 200, 400 and even 900 ducks/ha in the Philippines (Pantua et al., 1992 Vega, 1991 Cagauan, 1999 Cagauan et al., 2002a). In China, young ducks readily eat young snails (hatchlings and juveniles) weighing less than 1.5 g, while 60 day old ducks are the main predators of older and adult snails (1.5 g to over 6.5 g) (Kaiming Liang et al., 2013).

Fish have also been assessed as potential control agents (Cagauan et al., 2002b Halwart, 2006).

Soil improver

Apple snail shells can improve acidic soils by adding lime to them.

Whole snails are relatively poor in protein, about 14-18% on a DM basis, particularly rich in calcium (28-31% DM), and poor in phosphorus (< 0.5% DM). At the time of writing, no data were available regarding apple snail minerals other than calcium and phosphorus.

Snail meat (without shells) contains 52-63% protein (DM). It is similar to a fish meal of moderate quality. Ash content varies between 11 and 27% DM, and depends on the amount of residual shell material included. Snail meat contains about 3-4% calcium and 0.4-1.2% phosphorus. Fat content is generally less than 5%, much less than that of a typical fish meal (about 7-14%). Shells are mostly mineral matter and contain about 35% calcium with minimum amounts of residual protein.

There are few published amino acid profiles of apple snail proteins. Unfortunately, these profiles are not very consistent with each other. The reported lysine content of the protein, for instance, ranges from 2.9 to 9.7% of crude protein, a range that is abnormally large for animal products. This could be explained by difficulties to analyse this unconventional material, or by differences in the tissue composition of the snail meat, which may include different proportions of muscle and viscera. The protein content could also be influenced by the presence of undigested matter in the gut. Until more data are available, it is therefore difficult to draw conclusions about the suitability of apple snail protein for animal feeding.

Concentration of contaminants

Apple snails may concentrate dangerous pollutants from freshwater bodies, such as mercury, arsenic and uranium, in their midgut, kidney and foot. They are thus considered good bio-indicators for water contamination but unrestricted feeding by humans and animals might be considered with caution (Vega et al., 2012).

Disease reservoirs

Apple snails are potential reservoirs of diseases (Hayes et al., 2015) and it has been recommended that snails intended for human food be thoroughly cooked. Apple snails are intermediate hosts of the rat lungworm (Angiostrongylus cantonensis), a parasite that can cause eosinophilic meningitis and meningoencephalitis in humans (Chao et al., 1987 Shan Lv et al., 2011), in severe cases leading to paralysis and death (Murphy et al., 2013). The snails may also host trematodes that cause skin irritations (e.g. Keawjam et al., 1993) and others that cause intestinal tract problems (Hayes et al., 2015).

Snail meal

Fresh golden snail meal (Pomacea canaliculata) is a good source of protein for pigs in the Philippines, where whole and uncooked apple snail meal (with shells) introduced at 15% in the diet of growing pigs resulted in performance (average daily gain, feed conversion ratio) similar to that obtained with a commercial mash (Catalma et al., 1991a). It could replace 10% of a commercial mash in growing-finishing diets (Salazar et al., 2003). However, in another trial, whole snail meal at 50% had no effect on performance (Garcia, 2010).

Fresh or ensiled golden apple snail meat has been used to replace fish meal in growing (30-70 kg) pig diets. In a trial in Laos, the apparent digestibilities of crude protein and dry matter were about 81-83% and 55-59% respectively (Kaensombath et al., 2005a). In a feeding trial, total replacement of fish meal with fresh snail meat (9% and 5.5% of diet DM for 30-50 kg and 50-70 kg pigs, respectively) or ensiled snail meat (15.5% and 9.5% for 30-50 kg and 50-70 kg pigs, respectively) reduced diet DM intake, perhaps because of the high moisture content of the snails, but did not alter daily weight gain and feed conversion ratio. It was concluded that replacing fish meal with fresh or ensiled snail meat could be economically effective for pig production and could increase rice yields in the fields (Kaensombath et al., 2005b).

Fresh apple snail

Fresh apple snails could replace 37.5% and 60% of the soybean meal in commercial growing and finishing diets, respectively (Salazar et al., 2003).

Snail meal is a suitable substitute for more traditional protein sources in poultry diets. It can usually be added at 10-15% (diet DM). In chicks, feeding 10% of uncooked snail meal resulted in a 31% increase in total weight gain and 35% improvement in feed efficiency, compared to the control diet (Catalma et al., 1991b).


In the Philippines, for broilers fed 12% cooked or raw snail meal, cooking improved the feed conversion ratio and the palatability of snail meal.

Boiled snail meal led to similar production results and higher intake in chicks when compared to fish meal (Venugopalan et al., 1976). Cooked snail meal led to better performance than raw snail meal, and to slightly lower performance than the fish meal based control diet (Barcelo et al., 1991).

Snail meal fed at 4, 8, 12% in broiler diets replaced fish meal and meat and bone meal with good results (Ulep et al., 1991). Snail meal replacing 50% of fish meal gave similar growth and feed conversion rates (Arockiam et al., 1992).

Body weight and live-weight gains were similar for broilers fed a maize-soybean diet and broilers fed snail meal (Ali et al., 1995). Whole (including shells) dried giant snail meal was included in broilers at up to 6% of the diet, but the best results were obtained at the 2% inclusion level (El-Deek et al., 2002). Snail meal replaced up to 30% of the fish meal in starter phase of broilers, and up to 100% of the fishmeal in the grower stage, with an increase of growth rate and no negative effects on the taste of broiler meat (Diomandé et al., 2008).

Laying hens

Replacing fish meal in layer diets had no negative effects on egg numbers or egg quality, in addition of being cheaper than fish meal (Diomandé et al., 2008). Similarly, up to 15% golden snail meal was fed to layers without depressing performance. Layers performed best when snail meal was fed at the 10% level (Serra, 1997).

In the Philippines, studies with laying hens have produced contradictory results. Crushed snails given to White Leghorn layers as a supplement (20 g/bird/day) to a commercial mash resulted in a 88% mean hen-day egg production rate compared to 84% without the supplement (Ancheta, 1990). Also in the Philippines, ground snail meal included at 11% or 25% in layer diets resulted in lower hen-day egg production than for the control diet rate (72% and 84% respectively). However, feed intake, feed conversion, shell thickness and albumen weight were not affected, and feeding snail meal to layers resulted in a higher value of eggs (Catalma et al., 1991b).


In experiments in the Philippines, Pekin ducks were fed fresh apple snail meat and fresh banana peels (1:1) replacing 50%, 70% or 90% of a commercial mash. The diet consisting of 45% banana peels, 45% snail meat and 10% commercial mash gave the best performance and yielded the highest profit (Ulep et al., 1995).

In the Philippines, laying Mallards ducks fed fresh and crushed snails mixed with rice bran and broken maize grains at a ratio of 1.1:1 exhibited a 60-70% egg production rate (Tacio, 1987), while feeding ad libitum fresh snails and small amounts of rough rice resulted in a 68% egg production rate (Aquino, 1990). The use of a 2:1 ratio of fresh snails and rice bran has also been reported (Serrano, 1988). Mallards can be fed economically on a 50:50 mixture of apple snails and rice bran, and although ducks fed the snail and bran diet had a lower final body weight and feed efficiency than ducks fed on commercial diets, economic returns were higher (PCARRD, 2006). The combination of snails and commercial duck layer feeds at a ratio of 1:1.3 resulted in optimum egg production rate and low production cost (Datuin et al., 1990).

Good results have been obtained in several fish species raised for human consumption by replacing fish meal with snail meal.


In Nile tilapia, comparison of diets containing various proportions of snail meal, rice bran and fish meal showed that higher growth rates were obtained with diets containing 100% snail meal, or 75% snail meal and 25% rice bran. However, snail meal resulted in lower growth performance than fish meal when it was included at the same level of 25% (Cagauan et al., 1989). In sex-reversed red tilapia (O. niloticus x O. mossambicus), minced snail meal could replace 50% of fish meal protein whereas fermented snail meal (as proposed by Rattanaporn et al., 2006) could replace up to 100% fish meal protein, though 75% was recommended (Chimsung et al., 2014).


In striped catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) fingerlings, golden apple snail meal could entirely replace fish meal without negative effects on feed intake, feed and protein utilization, and survival rate. Daily weight gain and specific growth rate of fingerlings did not differ from the control diet (Da et al., 2012).

In African catfish (Clarias gariepinus), snail meal ensiled with molasses could replace 100% of the fish meal in the diet (20-27% of the total diet DM) without affecting growth performance and feed utilization (Phonekhampheng et al., 2009).


In tiger grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus), apple snail meal could be used at up to 20% (DM basis) without affecting performance. Higher inclusion rates resulted in reduced growth and survival (Usman et al., 2007). Feeding cultured grouper (Epinephelus tauvina) with 100% golden apple snails (fresh, cooked or a 50:50 mixture) resulted in lower survival than with a fish meal diet, though the highest growth among the snail-only diets was obtained with a 50:50 mixture of fresh and cooked snails (Firdus et al., 2005).


In seabass (Lates calcarifer), the replacement of fish meal by up to 25% of apple snail meal was found acceptable. Higher replacement rates decreased digestibility and performance (Hanafi, 2003).


In giant freshwater prawns (Macrobrachium rosenbergii), golden apple snail meal successfully replaced 25% of fish meal protein, with a maximum substitution rate of 50% (Jintasataporn et al., 2004).

Feeding giant tiger prawns (Penaeus monodon) with the cooked meat of golden snails and cooked cassava chips (60:40 on a fresh weight basis) yielded the highest net income when compared with maize alone. This approach also helped address the problem of snail infestation in rice fields (Bombeo-Tuburan et al., 1995).

Golden apple snail (Pomacea canaliculata) meal can replace 50% of fish meal protein in diets for young frogs (Rana rugulosa) and up to 100% of the protein in grower frog diets (Vongvichitch, 2006).



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