Raising snails as a hobby

snail farming It is a very interesting activity, which can be practiced not only as a cash crop to earn money, but also as a hobby, at the amateur level. Think of small-scale snail farming, done to observe these fascinating snails and perhaps have the satisfaction of producing excellent snail meat to bring to your own table or gift to your friends.

A small home-based snail farm can also be a trial before a money-making business, allowing you to begin to learn about caring for snails. Before investing on a large scale, it may be useful to test a small self-consumption plant that requires a small budget and a moderate commitment.

Let’s see some tips for create a hobby brood , carried out thanks to the advice of the company La Lumaca di Ambra Cantoni, which has 20 years of experience in professional heliculture. You will find much more information on how to breed snails in the Heliculture guide, in which we have deepened the different topics and operations to be carried out.

What it takes to start a small livestock farm

The investment required for an amateur snail farm it’s very small, in fact it doesn’t take much to start on a small scale.

The propeller system requires a outdoor fence sheet metal to protect the snails from predators and a emergency fence to prevent snails from escaping. The peripheral tarp must be partially buried, while to avoid leaks it is important to purchase a professional Helitex HDPE anti-waste, anti-fly and anti-ultraviolet snail net. This is the only specific purchase that needs to be made, besides, of course, players. For each fence built you will need four good sized posts, one in each corner and one post every two meters to place along the sides.

The sprinkler system it is convenient, but in a small size, you can choose to wet manually, which saves the cost of the automated system. Obviously it is still necessary to have a connection to the water network or a well, given the daily demand that the snails have.

In addition to fencing and watering, it is also necessary to obtain the seeds of culture to insert in the fence: to create the right habitat for snails, it is useful to plant beets or other similar plants. These crops are intended to provide shade and provide fresh food that is always available for the gastropods.

Finally, of course, you will have to c or learn snails to start , i.e. the brood. We could also collect snails for the meadows, but this is a method that gives poor results, since it is impossible to know the age of the individuals collected. For a productive breeding it is better to buy the reproducers, it is also obvious that the fact of having selected the specimens of the race makes it possible to obtain a good quantity and quality of meat. Normally 18 snails are inserted per square meter pregnant .

Summarizing here what is needed to breed snails:

  • Fence (snail net and support posts).
  • Irrigation system (if applicable) or access to water.
  • Seeds for vegetation inside the fence.
  • Snail food.
  • Players (18 per square meter)

Also some basic farming tools They are useful for working the land (shovel, hoe, spade, tiller or tiller) and for cutting and collecting grass (rake, brushcutter).

farm size

There is no fixed size for snail farming, everyone can decide the size of their plant and the number of fences to build. The choice is based on three elements:

  • Land measurements available.
  • The materials budget.
  • Availability of time to invest in the business.

Those who want to raise snails for home consumption will also need to consider how much meat they hope to use, it would be pointless to produce more snails than necessary.

fence size

In the construction of the fence, a very useful attention is to observe the standard width : usually 350 cm fences are made , so that they are easily accessible from the outside, without entering to disturb the snails. The length, on the other hand, depends on the square meters and the shape of the available plot and can therefore vary. Many helicopters choose the standard size of 46 x 3.5 meters, but the hobbyist can determine the length of the fence according to their space, as long as the recommended width is still respected.

Generally considered an amateur level When you have a standard one to three obstacles overcoming the three barriers becomes more difficult and can already be considered an income plant.

Lifting snails: necessary care

Once the plant is established, the breeder, whether he makes it a hobby or a job, has the task of taking care of his snails, without missing anything. this implies a daily commitment if the size is small, obviously a few minutes a day and a few days of work will be enough to devote occasionally, while the growth of the plant requires increasing commitment, until it becomes a full-time job.

There are basically two requirements for snails: Water and food, but you must also maintain constant vigilance and avoid any problem that could lead to the death of the specimens, such as flooding due to excessive rain or the presence of predators.

As far as water is concerned, the water requirement depends on the weather and is usually satisfied with daily irrigation in the afternoon. As food, the snails feed on the crops that are kept inside the enclosure, but they also require an additional contribution, which must be provided by the farmer. There are special feeds with flour, but in home breeding you can just provide fresh vegetables. You can also give the snails a lot kitchen scraps like the outer leaves of cabbage and salads.

In addition to feeding the farm, certain periodic maintenance operations must be carried out such as cutting the vegetation inside the fences and ensuring the hygiene of the plot.

get snail meat

Farm snails will grow into adult specimens. The snail ready to be picked can be recognized by examining the shell: it must have the characteristic rim at the end of the shell. After the snails are harvested, as explained in the harvesting article, the purging phase must take place before the snail meat can be cooked. The purpose of purging is to remove excess moisture and snail droppings.

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