I am 25 yrs old and wanting to start an indoor snail farm. I have a small shed behind the house that I will install air conditioning unit in . I hope to grow healthy edible snails for sale to finally start working for myself . I hope y'all will inform me of all the information you wish you knew before starting. It's always been a dream of mine to start my own business
What will I need to have to start my small snail farm?
I've decided to use helix aspersa snail, is this a good choice?
Based on my experience there are two methods to start a farm:
- beginning from adult snails and then let them multiply in special boxes with proper conditions (21°C, humidity above 60%). In small flowerpots (placed in those special boxes) snails will lay eggs. Then You take the eggs from the flowerpots and place in take-away styrofoam packaging. They hatch from eggs and after about 20 days You take them to specially fenced field. You feed them, they grow up and when they get appropriate weight, shell is hard You collect and sell.
- You can buy small snails from another farmer, grow them in the field, collect and sell.
Every time before collecting snails you pic a small amount of snails that will lay eggs for the next cycle.
That's how we do it in Eastern Europe. Snails lay eggs in March, in May they go to the field and then collect between September and October. From November to February the special picked snails for the next season are hibernated in special coold room (4°C) with low humidity (below 40%).
I've farmed Helix Aspersa. There are two kinds: Muller and Maxima. First one is more delicate in farming, little smaller but it's price is higher. The second grows easier, is larger but the price is lower.
Best for you would be to find some farmer near you and talk with him. Maybe he'll show you how he does it, and give you some tips.
Good luck to You!
I wanted to try the pot method as well.
How do you control the humidity in your snail farm?
My shed is closed and insulated . I plan on using a window air conditioning unit to control the temperature of the room.
How does one control the pH level of the soil as well?
By reproduction I used an propane heater (outside then is about -14°C). The heater by burning propane gives both heat and high humidity.
In the other room after the season I used an air dryer, because winter is beginning, so it's could enough - only air must be dryer.
Soil pH for the flower pots - I didn't control it. I just used a litle bit acid flower soil mixed with soil from my outside field. Snails lay eggs in it so it was suitable.
To be clear in my weather farming is divided in three stages:
1. reproduction (between winter and spring, inside)
2. Growing snails (from spring to end of summer, in field, outside)
3. Hibernation for the next season (from autumn to
Your farms is very nice. I hope one day I can reach the same level as you have .
Can you please explain the hibernation process and reproduction stage ? - is hibernation required? Can't I just reproduce and grow?
Why two rooms? - is it because you're farming on a larger scale ?
Do you collect the slime ?
Hibernation - by cooling and drying air snails hide inside shells and lock the entrance with epiphragm. They must be defecated and clean. In that state they can last very a couple of months without any food or weather.
For farmers in East Europe it's necessary, because we can't farm outside in winter and that's the method of storing a small amount of snails for the next season to reproduce.
Reproduction - snails feed and regenerate (after the hibernation process), then lay eggs in small flower pots filled with soil. Every day we collect the eggs and put them into small plastic boxes with a little bit of soil. The hatch, grow for about 20 days, and then the boxes are opend, carried out in the field. From that moment the farming is done on the field.
I think You can just reproduce and grow. It's all the matter of weather conditions. We have winter with -20°C - snails can't survive that (Helix Aspersa).
You can try to grow snails, and collect a small amount of the biggest (before they lay eggs in the field), put them in some room with flower pots where you can collect the eggs. Maybe it's possible just to put snails in the field and let them lay eggs there and reproduce. All You have to do is one in a while collect the biggest and sell.
That's just a thought. I really can't tell how You should farm in Texas.
I didn't collect slime. I've seen that you place a snails on some kind of strainer. You give the snail an electrical shock and then he releases slime. It's a little bit complicated in Europe because of the law. it's used for cosmetics and you need a special sterile room for the process, special highenic procedures, permits etc.