Cultures inside spiral fences: habitat and food

Heliciculture is one of the most interesting agricultural tasks in general and can be practiced both outdoors ( outdoor breeding ) and in greenhouses ( indoor breeding ).

Free-range breeding, inside special enclosures, certainly brings many advantages and significant economic savings, which is why it is the most frequent solution in the Italian climate.

A great idea for create an ideal habitat for snails is to grow certain species of plants inside the fences. These plants will provide both food and shelter for the snails. This is an inexpensive system for sustaining snails, effectively mimicking what happens in nature, where snails live in uncultivated grasslands.

Contents [Ocultar]

  • Outdoor snail farming

  • What crops to plant

    • Why plant beets?

    • ?

  • how to sow


Outdoor snail farming

To raise snails outdoors we organize the spaces into enclosures as we explained in connection with free-range breeding.

Individual or box fences usually have a standard size of 160 square meters, the width is very important, which to work comfortably should not exceed 3.5 meters. The peripheral fence of the fence should be made with a special net for heli farming, which is anti-smudge, anti-leakage and above all anti-ultraviolet, to protect the snails from the hot rays of the sun during the summer. To fix the net, wooden poles are used along the entire length and width of the net. We have dedicated an article to the characteristics that a snail net must have, as this is a very important subject for successful farming.

Once this is done and the fence completed with a small irrigation system, the farmer is ready to proceed with planting. Plant inside the fence.

what crops to plant

food plants used in the helipad are several: beets (cut or grooved), sunflowers, Jerusalem artichokes, various types of cabbage (protective cabbages, kale), turnips, clover various asteraceae head plants .

The “Cantonal breeding method” developed by the company La Lumaca, is a simple but above all functional breeding system, designed to achieve high production without causing any type of stress to the snails, in fact no mass displacement is necessary or similar actions.

For this very reason the vegetation planted inside the fences is a monoculture and it is better to use chopped beets and chard to be sown in spring or in September.

Why sugar beet

The choice of chard is primarily due to the fact that it is a biennial vegetation an important feature because in this way its presence in the enclosure can accompany the whole life of the snail .

The growth cycle of snails is approximately one year (plus, minus, months) and therefore the breeder is rarely able to close a cycle from hatch to harvest within a calendar year. This only happens in rare cases that are not programmable in normal brood management. Therefore, we need a species that guarantees vegetation for at least two seasons.

Thus, when sowing the beets, it will not be necessary to transfer the snails, according to the Cantoni method: the young will be born, grow and be harvested in the same birth pen.

Let’s do an example to clarify : a snail which will be born in spring 2020, can become fully adult, with a hard and pointed shell and therefore ready for sale between May and September 2021, since it will also be necessary to take into account the end of winter hibernation which concerns voluntarily or not the breeders of all Italy. Depending on the climatic zones, hibernation will be more or less long, but it cannot be avoided.

Snails mate several times during the active season (spring-summer-autumn), so upon awakening from winter hibernation, the breeder will notice different sizes. In the enclosure we will find larger snails, probably the ones hatched earlier, and then smaller snails from the last hatch. For this reason, we are looking at a definite growth and selling period from around May to September.

Back to Swiss chard for the conformation of the plant has a value particularly adapted to serve as habitat for the snail providing adequate shade and good shelter.

Those who have grown beets in their garden will also know that snails do not disdain to feed on their leaves, so the chosen plant also fulfills the nutritional function. .

Let’s not forget that the food factor plays a fundamental role in the rapid growth of snails, so we cannot expect culture diets to be sufficient. For breeding to be successful, it is important to complete with additional fresh vegetables fed from outside, meaning all seasonal vegetables such as carrots, sunflowers, lettuce, fruit, zucchini and more are free to eat. Snails are delicious on everything except potatoes and tomatoes.

It’s also important to remember that a grain-based supplement is important, we talked about this in more detail in the snail feeding guide.

It is advisable to plant both ribbed beets and cut beets:

  • Broad, ribbed chard acts like an “umbrella” providing maximum protection for snails during the warmer months.
  • Cut beets serve best as food .

how to sow

The ideal planting time for the beets on the fences it’s spring , although it also happens that crops are planted on the fence in September. It also depends, of course, on the weather, especially the temperatures that are reached during the winter.

For sowing habitat crops, beet seeds are mixed with 50% of beet and chard cuttings (wide banks).

It suits work the land to make it suitable for receiving the seeds, we can do it with a motorcycle or a motorized tractor, a tool suitable for moving around the spaces of the fence.

Then we proceed sowing while sowing to cover the soil with a medium density of seeds, by raking the seeds can then be mixed into the soil.

For the first periods after sowing, it is important water often and regularly since we can also use it for snails.

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