Heliciculture - Snail Farming

Discussion in 'Poultry, Domestic Livestock, Pets, & Bees' started by stevo, Nov 28, 2013.

  1. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    I just added snail farming to my list :cheers:

    I have no idea how it will go, but it's something to do and doesn't need much room for small scale stuff.

    I haven't seen a snail for years, we used to have heaps around 30 years ago but not one now in my yard, and none in other yards I've checked. I'm not sure why, maybe toads, blue tongues, geckos? I've been discussing it with my sister inlaw and after I saw those snail farm videos I thought it was something different to do.

    So I bought 30 snails online and will try to breed them, maybe give some to the chickens, maybe eat some? They're high in protein. They're currently in a bucket so I have to build or get some kind of tub and set it up, maybe make a bigger set up later on. Should be interesting :readit:

    PS. Pics to come, I know you've all seen snails before, but what the hey.
     
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  2. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I would never ever have thought of keeping snails - how cool are you! :cool:

    When I was building my chicken fence the other day and started doing my retaining wall for my picnic area I pulled off the old retaining logs and found one big snail about the size of a golf ball - reluctantly, I threw it to the chickens. But I was thinking the same thing - where have all the snails gone?

    Snails are an absolute delicacy and not cheap to buy at restaurants either. I'll be definitely putting this thread on my watch list. Do snails need a special climate to be grown successfully or can you make a micro-climate to suit snails wherever you live?
     
  3. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    From the youtube videos I've watched it looks pretty simple. I'll just start with a big plastic tub and try keep them alive, heh that's the first challenge. It seems you just add a few things to the tub, soil, fruit and veges, places to hide - I added a roof tile. They were all trying to escape last night, so this could be tricky.
     
  4. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I guess they can climb - so how are you going to keep them in? Or is it a matter of making the tub so homely they don't ever want to leave :D
     
  5. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    electronic snake/snail repellent gadgets? :cheers: ... at the moment I have shadecloth over the tub they can't get away.
     
  6. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Snail repellent gadget is probably not necessary when you have pellets... ;) How about making a galvanised mesh lid (about 5 mil squares) instead of the shade cloth for more airflow or doesn't it matter?
     
  7. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    I think they don't like it too humid? so good air flow might be important. I'll have to work on that one.
     
  8. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    For my storage box brooders (quail) I replaced half the lid with this heavy galvanised mesh and folded it over it works well because it just sits there nicely due to the weight - you can get this stuff in metre sheets at Bunnings.

    I guess you could cover your whole tub with the mesh which would allow air to flow and then have some sort of rain shelter like an open mini cover welded up frame or something over the top?

    mesh over container.jpg galvanised mesh bent over container for a lid.jpg
     
  9. armysnail

    armysnail Active Member Premium Member

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    Are you going to train white mice to 'round them up?'
     
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  10. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    All good ideas :D

    I thought about that kind of mesh but I think the baby snails might escape? I was thinking shadecloth might be ok, and I have heaps of it.

    The snails have been flat out eating, lettuce and cucumber, I didn't realize they'd eat so much :eat:
     
  11. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    If they're anything like the slugs in my garden I bet they love lettuce :D
     
  12. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    I screwed this together yesterday. Cheap treated pine and blue shadecloth tacked on. Snails are all in.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    and a recipe instead of the usual garlic butter...
     
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  13. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Well that is a pretty basic snail setup but it looks good and it should work great hey. So it has no floor then? The little buggers can't get under can they? Will it drain easy enough in a heavy downpour or is it under an eve or cover?

    I had no idea you could eat any snail in the backyard! Do you have to purge your snails like in the Gordon Ramsay video or are yours a special breed? It looks a fairly easy process to purge them and prepare for eating anyway. I've only had the French style garlic snails myself (in Morocco actually and once in South Africa) but I quite like the idea of frying them with a pancetta base and served on top of dressed salad - YUM!

    Some close-up pics of your snails (as they develop) would be nice if possible...
     
  14. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    The frame just sits on the ground. I don't think they can get out but i'll try keep an eye on them. I'm hoping the snails will lay their eggs In the dirt and i'll get new snails.
    Yeah it should drain well enough, it might get a fair bit of water in there but they should be ok, they seem to just hang around in high areas, sticking to the lid or under the tiles.

    I'll do the purge thing too. Funny that they say feed them carrots and wait for the orange poo, at the moment they're getting lettuce and cucumber and some poos are bright green. I think mine are just normal average garden snails and I think that's what people eat. I still have a fair bit to learn like everything I do.
    The first goal is to keep them alive, next goal is to get them to breed, then if all that works I have options, sell for reptile food, sell for snail farms, or eat, or all those options.

    I've had them at a French restaurant with garlic butter, but it just seems a bit weird to me that you put soo much flavour on to something that you can't even tell what you're eating, that happens with a fair bit of food I reckon.

    Yeah I better get some photos of them before they all die :facepalm:
     
  15. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Be positive - they won't die! :D

    You could also feed them to your chickens? Free awesome protein snacks for your poultry fed on kitchen scraps :sneaky: Hmmm... now you've got me thinking.
     
  16. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    oh yeah that's right, that was one of the options I forgot about. :cheers:

    I think it'd be good to have some snails around anyway, purely because I can't find any in any yard I check.
     
  17. armysnail

    armysnail Active Member Premium Member

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    I saw a show a while ago and the guy was producing snail caviar. Apparently people pay top dollar to eat their eggs. If your after free protein and have a strong stomach @Mark , check this link:
    .
     
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  18. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I enjoyed watching that video @armysnail and I think it's a really ingenious way to recycle protein waste and get free feed for the chooks but I don't believe the smell would be negated by hanging the bucket up a flag pole :vomit:I reckon you'd be able to smell it a mile away! :D The concept is fantastic though...

    Snail caviar? Now you got me Googling that one... Oh here it is! http://www.caviarexpress.com/snail-caviar-50 WOW I can't beleive how cheap it is... NOT !!!!

    @stevo you've stumbled on a potential gold mine with Stevo's Snail Caviar on the menu!
     
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  19. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    update: I've had a few deaths, I think it's the heat as we've had around 40degrees C here for a few days. The enclosure was in direct sunlight for about 2hours during the days, so I have moved it under a shady tree.
     
  20. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Probably a good move - it's hard enough keeping plants alive in this weather let alone snails... :heat:
     
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