African giant land snail belongs to phylum Mollusca, class gastropoda, genius Archachatina. It is an indigenous African Snail Species and forest dweller in most forest zones especially West Africa. However it survives and spread easily in other parts of the world such as Britain and several Islands of Gulf of Guinea, proving it’s tolerance to temperature and tropical climates (Egonmwan, 1988, Gascogne, 1994). In the last four decades land snails were abundant in the wild and were easily handpicked.
Nowadays developments, industrialization, Deforestation, Shortage of food supply in most of the developing countries are threats to the existence of snail in the wild and its supply to the market. The insufficiency of animal protein as well as demand for low or no cholesterol containing meat makes scientists to have interest in the production of highly nutritive, medicinally important and efficient by-product utilizer like snail.
Snails have been well known and highly appreciated by Africans, Nigerians in particular for the tasty and delicious nature of the meat (Akegbejo and Akinnusi, 2000) The meatcontain 18-19% crude protein and the high content of Calcium (Awah, 1992, Britht 1996) plant food materials for snails are seasonal it is therefore necessary to provide artificial diet that will supply the nutrients requirement of the animal at all times. This project work was aimed at determining the effects of moringaoleiferadiets on the growth performance of young Giant African Land Snails (GALS).
1.1 THE NEED FOR SNAIL REARING/CULTURING
The advocacy for snail rearing is becoming more popular because of the potential usefulness of its meat as a good source of protein which is between 15.76-18.26% (Awesu, 1980; Omole et al, 1998). The fat content which ranges between 0.96-3.0% is low when compared with 9.6,21.4 and 23.0% in chicken, eggs and mutton respectively (Imevbore and Ademosun 1998). This quality makes snail meat a choice for hypertensive patients and obsessed (FAO,1986, Odunaiya 1995).Snail meat is also very rich in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and nitrogen (Hamzatetal, 2007). The high content of iron in snail meat according to (Obinnah 1992) makes it useful in correcting the problem in iron deficiency in man.
However, as more people become aware of the medical and importance of snail meat, snail might go into extinction with time (Adeleke ,2002), because the major source snail supply to most Nigerian consumers is from the wild, which are sold a snails long road sides and local markets. Hence, efforts are being made to domesticate intensively (Kehindeet al., 2002). It has been reported by (Amaoet al., 2002) that giant land snails fed plants food materials supplemented with artificial diet performed better than their counterparts fed only plants food materials. Feeding cost in livestock which accounts for over 70% of the total production cost can be reduced to ensure profitability through the use of forage products. Such forage products are dried MoringaOleifera seeds, leaf, bark and root which are obtained from MoringaOleifera plant processing respectively. Their abundance, cheapness and availability all year round qualify them as good non-conventional ingredients (Ojebiyiet al., 2010).