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: it’s better to feed snails with a dry meal, rather than a green fodder. It’s 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 m² (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 m², 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