The cultivation of edible species of snails in European countries has been engaged for many years. In Ukraine this type of business is quite young, but the industry is developing exponentially. Basically, farmers work for export, since this product has not become popular yet in our country, however, snail meat dishes are increasingly found in the menu of restaurants and on the shelves of large supermarkets.
The following types of edible shellfish are bred on farms around the world:
- grape snail (Helix pomatia);
- garden snail (Helix aspersa Maxima and Helix aspersa Muller);
- mountain snail (Helix lucorum).
Also, some farms grow giant African Achatina (Achatina fulica), but this kind of gastropods is used in cosmetology and medicine.
There are two ways of breeding animals: indoor (indoor) and outdoor (land).
- it is easier to control the level of temperature and humidity level;
- minimized the risk of predators penetration;
- “harvest” does not depend on weather conditions.
The only disadvantage of the closed breeding method is cost. In addition to the premises with all communications, you must purchase:
- climatic equipment (including dehumidifiers in order not to exceed the permissible humidity level of 80%);
- metal racks;
- incubators and egg-laying cuvettes;
- plastic containers for young animals.
Many farmers started their business almost from scratch, organizing a mini-farm in a spare room in a private house or in a summer kitchen. Then, as the development progressed, they acquired storage facilities and equipment.
On closed-type farms, the yield forecast is predictable, since most of the breeding process of snails is influenced by weather conditions. Therefore, greenhouse maintenance brings more income.
If the floor space and finances allow, it is also possible to organize a production line for the processing of snail meat and the preparation of semi-finished products there. It significantly affects the level of profit.
This method is less expensive, and you can also start earning from scratch by organizing a mini-farm in the yard. Then the owner buys or leases a land plot, prepares it for breeding and populates it with a broodstock.
Experienced farmers know all the intricacies of choosing land for breeding, and there are many of them. Here are some of them:
- a place protected from the wind;
- lowland (so that moisture lingers longer);
- there are no tall trees and bushes nearby that attract birds;
- the soil is loose, with an average level of acidity (5.8-7.5 pH).
The plot must be prepared: eliminate harmful insects, cultivate, reproduce, divide into sections, sow with plants that snails eat.
It is advisable to immediately install an irrigation system, since during a drought, mollusks become inactive and reluctant to breed. However, if you do not have the funds to purchase it yet, you can water by hand.
The plot is necessarily fenced off with a high and deep fence, since many animals are not averse to feasting on a delicious protein product.
A significant drawback of an open type farm is its complete dependence on the weather. Cold, strong wind, drought, heat — all these factors lead to high mortality and a slowdown in the reproduction process (even if the snail is reproduced, it will keep eggs in itself until favorable conditions arise).
Both methods of breeding snails have their own advantages and disadvantages. If you are planning to do such an unusual business, but are worried, start small. In any case, such an occupation does not require much effort and time, and the income will be high in comparison with other types of animal husbandry.