Heliceculture (growing snails) today is one of the most developing areas of animal husbandry in Ukraine. This business originated in our country no more than 10 years ago, although all over the world they have been breeding edible mollusks for a very long time.
Heliculture has a lot of advantages. Firstly, it is not necessary to have a large start-up capital to begin with. Secondly, snails grow quickly on our fertile soil. Thirdly, the creatures are not picky and practically do not get sick. Fourth, caring for them is simple.
With the growing popularity of this business in Ukraine and thousands of existing farms in the world to this day, the demand for shellfish exceeds supply. For this reason, the niche is considered unfilled, so you have every chance to start making money on snails.
In this article, we will tell you how to grow gastropods at home with the least investment.
Snail breeding methods
There are two types of snail farms — indoor and outdoor. The first involves air breeding. For this, a plot of land is allocated and the soil is prepared (disinfection, cultivation, sowing with grass).
Grape snails (Helix pomatia) are most often grown in pens (in open areas). This is exactly the kind that lives in nature on our strip. For the winter, snails burrow into the ground and hibernate.
The second breeding method is greenhouses (indoor). The farmer equips the production room, installs climatic equipment there and populates it with shellfish. In greenhouses, the species Helix aspersa (Maxima and Muller), as well as Achatina fulica (giant African Achatina), are grown more often. The first breed, garden snails, are prized in Europe for their exquisite taste. In addition, they grow much faster than grapes. But Achatina is mainly grown for cosmetic purposes. Their mucus is widely used in the manufacture of creams, serums, etc. In addition, snail massage is considered a popular procedure.
The most interesting thing: in order to breed snails in any of these ways, you do not need to invest a lot of money in buying a plot or building a production facility. You can start small, namely with heliculture at home.
Open breeding method in the courtyard of a private house
If you have a free piece of land, feel free to use it to your advantage. What is needed for this:
- shield him;
- disinfect with special means;
- fertilize with calcium;
- sow with grass;
- install pallets.
The last advice is ignored by many, and in vain. Even tall grass does not always keep animals from overheating. But the summer period is often sultry. It is convenient for a snail to hide under the pallets in the heat. It also makes the collection process easier. By lifting the pallet, you simply collect the shellfish from it into a bucket.
If the area is small, create a canopy. The more shade and moisture, the more actively the snails will reproduce.
It is better to buy broodstock on the farm. Although, if you are sure of the purity of the surrounding nature, if you wish, individuals can be collected in the nearest forest.
Maintenance is quite simple: feeding (once a day) and cleaning (at least once a week). In dry weather, the shellfish should be watered as often as possible.
Starting a snail business should be in the spring. Very soon the snails will bring offspring.
Closed breeding method at home
For a greenhouse, both a summer kitchen and a room in a house or in an apartment are suitable. For 1 m², the number of snails is 40-50 pieces. The shellfish are plastic containers or aquariums. At the bottom of each is laid out soil enriched with minerals.
Requirements for the premises:
- good ventilation;
- no drafts;
- not on the sunny side;
- optimum temperature and humidity (or climatic technology).
The last parameter assumes the following indicators: for grape snails +21 … 23 ℃, for garden snails — +23 … 25 ℃, for Achatina +25 … 28 ℃. Humidity — at least 70% (for all types).
Here, as well as in the corral, snails need to be fed and cleaned.
Well, the most important question: where to sell shellfish? For these purposes, large farms constantly open collection points. This is ideal for small batch sales. Ask if there is such a point in your area and feel free to start a business. Who knows, maybe in a few years a modest business will turn into a large-scale project …