Growing snails is one of the most profitable businesses in Ukraine today. Despite the fact that this area of animal husbandry is developing rapidly, there is still opportunity for new projects. The global demand for shellfish is covered by a maximum of 70%.
There are different types of snail farms, which differ in scale, breeding method and type of business building (large farm, franchising, reception centers, etc.)
You can start a business of growing snails literally from scratch. Many successful farmers did not have the start-up capital to open a large farm, but initially set up a “mini farm” in the yard of a private house, in a cellar or even in a room. Establishing sales channels, constant training (even if it is independent), the ability to negotiate — all these skills helped the business to develop rapidly and, accordingly, expand.
However, without basic knowledge of the object of sale, any business can fail, therefore, before starting to open even a mini-farm, you need to learn the basics.
In this article, we will consider the generally accepted norms for the content of shellfish, which promote active reproduction, minimize the risks of diseases, and reduce the mortality rate.
In nature, you probably noticed snails more often in the early morning. If the day is rainy, they are happy to crawl out into open areas and sit quietly on wet soil or foliage with whole families. In the heat, it is almost impossible to meet a mollusk. Only experienced collectors know the places where the snail hides in the heat (under stumps, in dense thickets of grass, in bushes).
Dryness is the worst enemy of gastropods. If there is nowhere to hide, the only shelter is the shell, where the animal completely hides its body and waits for better times. Prolonged exposure to unfavorable conditions leads to death.
The optimum humidity in the environment is 70-80%. The level is measured with a special device — a hygrometer, which is sold at the pet store. This is only possible if you are raising snails indoors. It is impossible to measure this parameter in the air, so be guided by the weather. If it’s dry and hot outside, water the foliage regularly.
Try not to exceed this figure, as dampness leads to the multiplication of bacteria and waterlogging of the soil.
Temperature readings depend on the type of snails that are bred. Most often, the usual grape snail (Helix pomatia) is chosen to start. For these mollusks, a comfortable temperature of 21-23 ° C. Above 27 ° C, animals become lethargic and reluctant to breed. Heat above 30 ° C is dangerous (mortality increases, gastropods fall into a state of suspended animation).
Given the dependence on weather conditions, it is more profitable to keep snails on greenhouse-type farms, where the level of temperature and humidity is regulated by climatic technology.
Aviaries need regular cleaning. Farm workers remove food residues and topsoil with excrement. In humid conditions, bacteria spread quickly, so good hygiene is important.
Avoid waterlogging the soil as this will make your cleaning task more difficult. The soil moisture level is not higher than 80%.
It is customary to contain no more than 40-50 grape snails on one square meter. This indicator is considered optimal for the normal well-being of individuals and active reproduction.
A special composition of calcium and magnesium, which is introduced into the soil, stimulates growth and promotes the proper development of molluscs. It is recommended to systematically use this mixture to obtain a good harvest.
Compliance with the «life cycle»
Snails of the Helix group hibernate in nature. Growing snails in captivity also involves natural or artificial (when breeding on a closed farm) introduction into a state of suspended animation. Living in a «life cycle» as close as possible to the natural one is one of the main norms for keeping mollusks.
All these rules may seem complicated at first glance, but the main thing is to properly prepare for breeding, undergo training from experienced farmers and be positive. In this case, a snail farm (of any size) will definitely bear fruit.