For the correct breeding of snails, two things are of decisive importance: the presence of water and the soil. Before starting a helicopter farm, these two things should be checked.
In the soil where to place the fence, the snails do not have many pretensions: the best soil is that which has a mixed mixture, draining and able to retain moisture, however, practically any type of bottom can well go, as long as it is not too stony and does not form ponds. To avoid rainwater, a slight slope may be optimal.
On the other hand, the availability of water is crucial for the irrigation of snails, which have a constant need for humidity. Therefore, on the fence it is necessary to think about an irrigation system.
Ensuring adequate irrigation is an important care that the winemaker must take to ensure the well-being of the snails and the vegetation in the enclosures. That’s why we dig deeper into the question of when is the best time to irrigate and how much water we should supply.
How much and when to water fences
During the summer season, the fences must be wetted daily, with a frequency and quantity that varies according to the weather. It varies from about 10 minutes of irrigation to 30 or 40 minutes per day for each pen. The duration varies in particular according to the summer daytime temperatures, if they have been more or less torrid.
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Watering the fences should always be done after sunset, since the social life of snails takes place mainly at night. Adequate humidity contributes to the well-being of the snails and the vegetation inside the enclosure, it is a very important factor in the breeding of these shellfish. The gastropods take refuge under the leaves of the plants during the day, if the irrigation system is turned on they can come out, with the risk of being burned by the sun. The sun’s rays will also refract into the water droplets and could damage vegetation.
A good rule of thumb to know if your snail fence is moist enough is to check the condition of the soil the next morning: it should stay moist on average, but not too dry or soggy.
How to make an irrigation system for the helipad
Each fence should have its own irrigation system. Experience shows that it is better to make a system with a raised polyethylene tube, equipped with the corresponding micro-atomizers, which should be placed at a distance of about one and a half meters from each other. The raised system prevents the pipe from frequently filling up with snails: if the system were accessible, the pipes would easily be clogged by gastropods, attracted by the humidity.
A good irrigation system must be able to irrigate only the inner perimeter of the fence, trying not to let water out of the planted spaces. The outside of the boxes should be kept as dry as possible, to prevent snails from escaping. Snails always seek moist environments, so if they find dry ground on their way out, they will be encouraged to return. A clean exterior and a damp interior is the best preventive method to prevent leaks. Snails have an instinct to explore, even with well-made fences, a few snails can still manage to escape. To avoid this, it must be ensured that the snails have everything they need in the fence: the snails must not lack water, cultivated plants and food.
Other Helicopter Care
In addition to watering the fences, the grower must feed the snails, which we talked about in the article on feeding snails. There are no other particular treatments that are carried out daily, but there are cyclic shipments that must always guarantee an excellent sanitary hygienic environment. Here are the main tasks of a good snail farmer.
Eliminate any food supplement not completely consumed, to avoid its fermentation, which causes the proliferation of bacteria; it is good to do this about every other day.
Periodically cut the vegetation inside the fence, to prevent the spikes from causing the death of the plant, a task that should be carried out every two or three weeks. According to the proven success of the “Cantoni breeding method” (developed by the La Lumaca di Ambra Cantoni farm), the chard sown indoors should last two seasons and it is therefore important to contribute to its health, being a plant biennial.
Check that there is no significant presence of predators inside the enclosure (mice, lizards, dolphins). Since we are dealing with farms in the countryside, we will always find subjects prone to predation all along the plot, it is something natural that is part of the food chain. The important thing is not to create colonies of predators inside the pits. An important prevention that greatly limits the entrance of these snail enemies is the sheet metal perimeter fence (as explained in the article on helicopter fences).
Heliciculture is a profession in close contact with nature, so those who are passionate about it can find one of the most beautiful professions in the world. Of course, it’s fair to consider that like any farm job, you have to roll up your sleeves and work hard to get an adequate income. It also requires a constant commitment, made of daily attentions such as feeding, cleaning and wetting the snails.