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).
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).