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Snail rearing

escargot

escargot

There are different methods for rearing snails. Usually in France, reproduction and nursery take places indoor, in climatized areas, and fattening outdoor, in pens.

Here is that I advise, in order to obtain a very good quality :

Don't touch   !...    I'm ticklish ! (idea and script : Philippe Roulland )

 

Which species ? : Helix aspersa aspersa, the Petit-Gris, (about 10g) or Helix aspersa maxima, the Gros-Gris, (about 20g). for more details

 

Cycle :  (in north hemisphere)

- from March to October in countries with a cold winter and a not too hot and dry summer, as mine, in the North of France.

- from September to May in countries with a wet and cool winter and a very hot and dry summer, as some Mediterranean regions.

 

Feeding: its better to feed snails with a dry meal, rather than a green fodder. Its more efficacious and hygienic. This is my formula :

calcium carbonate 30%, calcium phosphate 4%, soya meal 20%, sunflower seeds 5%, wheat flour 40%, and vitamin mix 1%; whole is finely ground. With 2 kg ( about 4 lb.) of this food, I product 1 kg (2 lb.) of snails. 7 kg of lettuce would be necessary for the same result !

 

Reproduction : breeding snails are put in cages at a density of 200 Petit-Gris or 100 Gros-Gris per m (i.e. about 4 lb. per square meter), with food and water ad lib., and some pots which are filled with a good soil. Ideally, these boxes are placed in a room which is kept at 20 Celsius (68 F), with a relative humidity of 95%, and a long photoperiod (16L / 8D). But we can also simply use a greenhouse. Snails are hermaphrodites but they have to mate before laying some days later.

When a snail has laid, the pot is placed into an incubator at 20 C and covered. Three weeks later, about 100 new hatched snails appear under the lid.

Usually, we can expect a yield of 70 young snails per breeder for 2 months.                         

 

Nursery : cages with well moistened soil are stocked with less than 2500 young snails per m, in the same "climatic conditions" than breeders. 3 to 4 weeks later, these young snails are brought outdoor.

 

Outdoor pens : I advise to stock them with no more than 300 Petit-Gris or 150 Gros-Gris per square meter, in order to have a really good growing. We have to protect them against rodents and shrews, for example with a grid in the ground. With a mosquito net as lid we both protect snails against birds and prevent escaping.

small pen

large pen

small pen in my garden

large pen /  Fabien Lesaffre - 59560 Comines (France)

 

Gathering: some Petit-Gris reach their adulthood 10 to 12 weeks after hatching, a lip has formed on shell (13 to 15 weeks for Gros-Gris). Some days later, we can begin to pick them : do not forget to keep the best specimens for the next breeding season. The last animals are picked 3 months later, about 90% of Petit-Gris have a lip (80% of Gros-Gris).

 

Hibernation: only future breeders are placed in hibernation, in wooden boxes, well dried, and out of frost.

 

Note: indicated growing tax is observed in my pens, but it might be different in other environmental conditions, or with other strains.

for visiting my breeding system : click here

Now you have to adapt this information to your own situation. Be inventive ! So snail rearing is very interesting.


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