The Orto da Coltivare Heliculture Guide continues with an explanation dedicated to the collection of snails. The time of harvesting is very important, a lot of work is done, and ready specimens need to be chosen.
What snails to collect
when collecting snails
Collection during the day
Storage of harvested snails
What snails to collect
It is important to harvest the snails at the right time of their development: when the snails are young, in addition to being smaller, they have a shell that is too fragile, which could break during purging or transport, the snail adult, on the contrary, has a tastier meat and a hard and resistant shell.
Specimens ready to be collected are those already edged, that is, when an edge forms along the edge of their shell, it is a good indicator to understand if the snail is taken or not.
When collecting snails
The best time to harvest snails is in the fall, especially in October and November, when there is less vegetation and it is easier to find snails in peripheral nets.
The ideal is to make frequent collections: when they begin to be seen specimens bordered and therefore suitable for sale, they must be collected immediately, if they are left in the breeding they can run the risk of predation , in addition to taking food from the still young snails that they have yet to finish growing. Snails can be collected at different times of the day, depending on the needs of the breeder and the time available.
In the morning it is better to get to the fences before dawn, taking advantage of the humidity of the night and the morning dew. The “social life” of snails takes place mainly from dusk to dawn, it is during this period that gastropods carry out their biological functions (mating, spawning, feeding), then when we pick them up at dawn we will find the snails still awake to graze, in the vegetation or attached to the Helitex fence net.
collected during the day
If there are so many snails to collect, it is better to work all day without being influenced by the schedules. Especially at the end of the season, when there are more snails ready to be collected and sold, more time must be devoted to this operation.
To collect the snails during the day, you must stop watering a few days before, then put pallets or wooden boxes inside the fences. Snails attracted to wood will stick to the pallets, just pick them up and select the specimens to take.
The pallet method has two advantages: the first is that to facilitate the sorting of specimens ready for sale, all the border snails are chosen, while the small snails must be carefully removed and returned to the enclosure so that they continue to grow.
The second advantage is that the snails dry out a little on contact with the wood and are therefore less moist, which facilitates drainage and storage.
Conservation of collected snails
After the harvest, the snails will be purged and then stored in a cold room, for their good conservation they must be harvested as dry as possible, for this reason it is not necessary to collect them in case of rain, and it is advisable not to do not water fences for at least two days before harvest.
This article has been written in collaboration with the company La Lumaca di Ambra Cantoni, which has made available to Orto Da Coltivare its experience, the result of twenty years of experience in snail farming. La Lumaca organizes national training meetings in heliculture, for those who want more information, I suggest you contact La Lumaca ( email@example.com ), also say that you have found the contact in Orto Da Coltivare.