Snail farming in a foil tunnel

Snail farming in a foil tunnel

Snail farming is gaining popularity as demand for snails from season to season is growing. In this unsaturated market and lucrative business, there is still room for new production houses. Growing demand for snail on the western market , makes the business profitable, with low production expenditure.

The first step is to decide on the type of snail. Although varieties of snails are numerous, two families dominate the market. Helicidae genus Helix and Achatinidae genus Achatina are popular varieties, mostly used in gastronomy. Maxima, Müller and Pomatia (Helix) African snails are much more attractive for breeding than traditional snail. Which is protected by the Minister of the Environment and its harvest is limited every year. In contrast, African species are not subject to such restrictions.

Adapting the foil tunnel for snails does not require large costs and large areas of use. The workload appears only during harvest, and throughout the maturation we strictly care for the snails’ health, feed and disinfect them.

Methods for helix aspersa snails:

Mixed breeding 

– the most popular method and the most economical is to start in early spring in a heated foil tunnel from the hatchery of small snails and in summer we transfer them to the park.

Growing in outdoor

– parks requires preparation and experience with snails. The climate can be troublesome for snails. But careful observation and response at the right time makes it possible to carry out optimal breeding. This is perfectly suited to snails that were too small. The season before and requires more time to be ready for harvest. Breeders use high foil tunnels, open on both sides with shading screens to protect shells against hail. Heavy torrential rains, severe heat, and other factors that could harm them. Food for snails under cover can be the common turnip. Kale and clover, which also give shade and retain moisture, beneficial to them .

Closed culture 

– a laborious method that requires a systematic and careful work for the breeder. During the whole season, maintain high hygiene in breeding facilities. Continuously monitor the factors affecting the development of snails such as humidity, Ph and adjust food to the breeding stages. It also requires appropriate adaptation of the foil tunnel. Investments in cuvettes, incubators, studs, air conditioners and several other technological modules that optimize the breeding conditions. However, year-round breeding and rapid weight gain of snails makes the investment worthy after four seasons and starts to generate substantial income.

Snail farming – start

To start the snail farm ,we need to prepare the right fattening structure, with size to suit your needs and planned harvest. Costs can be reduced ,seeking advice from experienced breeders and professional training.

Starting a tunnel, we can operate in several ways:

  • Eggs
  • Sows snails
  • Mother snails. breeders

 Breeding parks – foil tunnels

As early as mid-April, it is possible to transfer snails to the foil tunnel. In the park we build a fence covered with agro textile to prevent snails from escaping. Furthermore, to protect snails from pests like moles, rats, hedgehogs, etc., we put traps and nets blocking the uninvited guests. We introduce plants for snail that produce enough fattening food to obtain a high commercial price. A well-designed park makes it easy for breeders to work and this is economically important. We adjust the surfaces to the fattening herd and to achieve good quality, mollusks should be provided with adequate space.

In order to achieve good results in breeding, it is important to take care of the breeding stock every day. Such activities include:

  • Watching if the snails did not escape (in the morning)
  • Checking we do not get pests in
  • Cutting the plants that grow beyond the fence, high stems would allow snails to get outside the breeding area
  • Water the park to maintain moisture
  • Wet food holders to prevent food being spread by wind
  • Spread the feed on pallets so that each group has access to food.

Maintenance conditions for snails:

Temperature

The optimal temperature for development of snails is 15 to 20 ºC. For the young 20 to 25 ºC and for reproduction from 16 to 19 ºC. At 12 ºC and lower, snails go into hibernation which is not what breeders want because it slows their growth.

Humidity

Snails are most active with 90% humidity, which increases food intake and subsequent growth. The rooms are well-irrigated, with a 15 ° C water and we use cold water for fogging. Too much humidity can lead to a number of snail diseases and even to their death. So it is very important to observe humidity levels.

Lighting

Light exposure stimulates snails to increase activity, and thus reproduction. The use of artificial light for 18h induces intense reproduction. Additionally it allows to regulate the cycle of night and day which helps in breeding.

Ventilation

Air circulation is an important factor affecting the culture, with large amounts of toxic gases produced in the process, which are harmful to the snails. Continuous irrigation and cuvette cleaning means that humidity is much higher than required for breeding and to avoid this, we make sure of proper air movement in the tunnel. This is achieved by lateral or roof ventilation in foil tunnels.

The factors described above can be easily monitored and controlled by sensors and controllers, the cost of the investment is not prohibitive and the subsequent sale of snails is higher than the cost of  support modules in the tunnel.

Earth

The earth for snails should have a pH between 5.5 and 7.0 for reproduction to take place. The ideal soil is with humus, well-watered and has good consistency. Best if free from microbes and parasites that could feed on snails. In order to clean the earth from harmful elements, we clean it with a heat treatment at a temperature of about 260 ºC for up to 10 minutes.
Incubation is best in soils with a pH of 3.5 to 4.5 which prevents the growth of microorganisms in the incubators.

Nourishment

We use two types of food, green plants and fodder with lots of micronutrients to provide snails with the right ingredients for development. For breeding farms intended for production, it is good to sow your own plants, later used by snails. In the field farms for the first 5 weeks, the snails feed on the plants they live in, then more than 90% of their mass comes from complete feeding mix.

Snail sale

By running a snail farm you can earn in several ways; thanks to the versatility of this creature and the low effort to produce, profits are visible after the first season:

  • Reproducer – sale of mother’s snails to other kennels
  • Eggs – selling eggs to customers wishing to breed
  • Youngs – developping snails that can be put on the farm
  • Live snail – as caviar and hibernating
  • Mucus – for pharmacists and cosmetic companies

Foil tunnels manufacturer Krosagro

To set up your own kennel we give you the highest quality plastic tunnels, solid and easy to build, designed to meet the needs of breeders, growers and farmers. On the market for 20 years, we have won the trust of many loyal customers who return to take advantage of the growing assortment of Stal Impex products.

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