Own business: growing snails

* The calculations use the average data for the World

Many people eat seafood, one of which is squid and octopus meat. They are cephalopods, characterized by the simplicity of the structure of the body, while the consumption of food by relatives of these animals, the gastropod mollusks, carrying a conch on their body and united under the common name snail, is much less known. Nevertheless, in some European countries (Spain, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland) such animals are not even a delicacy, but have served as food for many centuries - even in Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire snails were eaten by different segments of the population due to simplicity receipt and preparation.

For Russia, such management seems exotic due to the non-use of snail meat in Russian cuisine. With the proliferation of restaurants dedicated to certain cuisines of the world, snails began to be used in cooking, so there is a certain demand for such meat in Russia. Players selling kilogram packages of such a delicacy have already begun to appear on the market, but demand has not yet been fully satisfied, so it is possible to occupy an empty niche.

The advantage of this initiative is the ability to breed snails both in rural areas and in a city apartment. To start, you will need to register a business entity with an indication of the code (OKPD 2) 10.20 Processed and canned fish, crustaceans and mollusks.

After this, you should contact the veterinary service for advice and permits; the production and sale of snail meat is regulated by the technical regulation for meat of fish, echinoderms, crustaceans, and mollusks, but since the legal act assumes the use of animals obtained from water resources, it may be difficult, because local laws that may limit or on the contrary, to simplify the conduct of a particular type of business. It’s better to have at least 50 thousand rubles in stock in case you need additional permissions.

It can be said with a high degree of probability that the clam meat will have to be transferred to the veterinary laboratory, in which certificates on the sale of meat will be issued following the results of the audit - a similar practice is carried out throughout this country without exception by region. An interesting feature is that snails, as a rule, are sold alive, possibly without first feeding several days in order to clean them.

Two types of snails are traditionally eaten - Helix pomatia and Achatina fulica. The first in Russian practice are called grape snails and are a common species that is universally settled in the southern and central territories of Russia. Very unpretentious and easy to breed and keep animals, while individuals are quite large and nutritious. It was a grape snail that was consumed by humans for centuries.

The alternative to her - the giant Achatina - traditionally lived in countries with a warm climate, where she was eaten by the natives. Its survival in the natural conditions of the Russian climate is impossible, while in some European countries it can become a real disaster for agriculture - these are plant pests. Outwardly, it is not difficult to distinguish these species; grapevines are valued more due to the more wholesome and nutritious meat. In the complexity of breeding and the initial cost of the uterine tribe, they do not differ, but when kept in a private house in the fresh air, Achatina may not survive the winter, as they are African animals; grape snails hibernate during the cold weather. However, Achatina on average are slightly larger than their grape counterparts, and for a change it is quite possible to breed both of them - no, but an assortment.

In fact, there are other species that are hypothetically suitable for human consumption - Helix adanensis, Helix aperta, Helix hortensis, Helix lucorum, Archelix punctata, Otala lactea, Otala vermiculata, Iberus alonensis, Cepæa nemoralis, Theba pisana candidischis and others Sphinct, but these species are more exotic, which means they are difficult to obtain, and they will be bought with less interest. But as an even greater extension of the assortment, it is worth considering the possibility of their breeding.

The most serious obstacle in such an undertaking is the long term of snail maturation. This mollusk is unhurried not only in its movement, but also in turning into an edible individual, and in laying eggs - under not very favorable circumstances, the snail may not produce offspring after fertilization for up to a year, preserving and carrying the obtained biomaterial in itself. For the mollusk to be ready to eat, it takes from 6 months to 3 years, for a common grape snail this period is an average of one and a half years with artificial keeping and three years when breeding in nature. Therefore, it is best to buy already adult sexually mature individuals, which will allow you to immediately get offspring.

Since snails are hermaphrodites - bisexual creatures - every animal lays eggs. Achatina breeds more intensively - up to 160 eggs per year, ordinary grape - only 60. If it was decided to breed only grape snails, then it will take about eight hundred animals, 50 rubles each (mature large individuals are especially expensive, but you can buy the whole lot in bulk much cheaper - about eight thousand instead of forty). Each Achatina will cost 100 rubles (here, of course, wholesale purchases of uterine tribes are also preferred), but they only need 200 individuals. The weight of grape snails averages 50 grams, achatine - up to 70, so it is better to take mollusks “by weight” from professional breeders of such animals; pet lovers who contain snails as pets will ask for money for each mollusk, without offering large quantities. However, among such lovers there are many who want to give the resulting offspring for nothing, because the animals simply have nowhere to put, but this method of obtaining the tribe is not promising - they will often give young snails who still need to grow up, slowly eating not free food for a year.

The most seemingly simple way is to go to the garden and collect the clams manually, only the garden should be large, and the patient patient - it’s impossible to find Achatina in the wild in Russia in principle, and 800 grape snails obviously do not sit side by side waiting for the hunter. In general, having tried and spent a little time searching for a wholesale supplier, you can purchase future fathers and mothers of all offspring for a maximum of 10 thousand rubles, while both large Achatina and their smaller grape-relatives are available.

The breeding of snails in the natural habitat and in the apartment varies significantly. If you take into account the farming activities for the maintenance of gastropods, you will need a plot of no more than 50 m2, which is enough to equip as a simple garden. The only condition is a completely fenced area so that the leisurely inhabitants do not crawl away and eliminate all possible lovers to feast on snails. You can get rid of bird attacks either by installing a transparent canopy or placing it on a scarecrow site (a very dubious way, but sometimes it works), but even a simple canopy will significantly reduce the attacks of birds that do not really like to get close to human habitation.

The biggest problem may be some species of large beetles, which also love to eat snails, pesticide bullying can kill the breeding offspring itself, so it may be necessary to select the optimal poison that will spare the mollusks, while destroying insects.

A good fence should save another natural enemy - the hedgehog; but there will remain the possibility of another attack from the ground - moles. It is impossible to fix the ground with boards, the snails themselves need soil, therefore, if mole tears are discovered, they will have to be driven away by force. The fence itself should have a rounding inward at the top, so that those who love to crawl along the vertical surface of the snail could not get out. An even more effective way would be to supply a weak electric current (about 4 volts, a maximum of 12, more means to cook a snail ahead of time) launched on the top of the fence - the mollusks will receive a discharge and fall back.

As already mentioned above, only grape snails can be bred in the fresh air, especially resistant achatins can withstand a temperature drop of up to two degrees Celsius, but, due to the lack of ability to suspended animation, they begin to die with further cooling. The grape snail simply hibernates for three months - this is one of the drawbacks of keeping mollusks in the garden, for the winter time the animals burrow into the soil, climb into their shells and sleep, respectively, not leading an active (as far as the snail can be active) lifestyle and, most importantly, without breeding. However, just placing mollusks on a piece of land will not be enough, you need not just the presence of plants, but also a special soil composition, which should also be regularly updated with at least a simple digging. Providing a snail with a fruit-bearing garden means losing the crop; therefore, the best way out is to put the animals on a weedy plot; ideal - to plant wild non-agricultural grapes.

To fertilize the soil in a cage equipped for mollusks, it is necessary to plant freshly cut weed grass, and also add calcium fertilizers to form a snail shell. The site needs to be constantly moistened and protected from direct sunlight - another reason to pull at least a canvas canopy. The advantage of this content is the saving on feed, which the mollusks will receive from weeds and other useless plants, it remains only to periodically feed and fertilize the earth with minerals. A month will require no more than a thousand rubles for such events. It is also worth remembering that in natural conditions snails grow longer.

Breeding of mollusks in a city apartment has its own characteristics. Snails are good in that they can be located in all three spatial dimensions, so a room can have an area of ​​20 m2 or more, which contains about 10 molluscs (in fact, this is the same terrarium, only with a certain content, made independently) of 10 thousand each. Here you can already contain any species, including more valuable African Achatina; the main thing is to create conditions close to natural for snails. The most important indicators are ambient temperature and humidity. Grape snails will be pleasantly surprised by the lack of winter and the opportunity not to fall into suspended animation and will joyfully increase the number of mating periods, while Achatina will simply assume that they are in their native Africa. The average temperature is about 23 degrees Celsius, most of the species like this mode, not only these two. The soil should be saturated with calcium, as well as with dirt - the mollusks naturally eat it, getting the nutrients they need. Suitable food of plant origin, all the same weeds and just the leaves of plants. It is constantly necessary to moisturize the molluskariya; when dry, the snails become inhibited and lethargic (how lethargic the snail can be), and then die with displeasure. Helps to moisturize the cleaning of the molluskaria with digging the soil necessary every 3 days; neglected cleaning animals suffocate in their own waste, mucus and rotting food.

Well similar breeding by the possibility of obtaining valuable snail caviar; you can find it during the mating periods of the mollusks, which caring parents bury in the kidney. If you allocate one molluskarium for mating games of snails, first planting them there, then you can extract a considerable number of clutches at the lowest cost and without disturbing animals in other molluscs. The snails will not be able to leave the boundaries of their home only in the case of a tightly closed lid (gastropods are relatively strong creatures), in which you need to make the maximum number of openings for air access. The holes should be no more than 5 millimeters so that the smallest newly born snails also do not crawl out. The monthly content of shellfish in the apartment will be about 5 thousand rubles, which will be spent on utilities and food.

The largest individuals remain for breeding, the rest are sent for the intended purpose of breeding. Packages of live snails are valuable, but this is possible in the case of established trade. Mollusks can be kept without food for several days, after which they can be killed and disposed of, subjected to rapid freezing and sold in this form. Such a product will be appreciated much lower, but it will not have to keep living things together with the dead and those who have begun to decompose in anticipation of the purchase. In the case of grape snails, one can take advantage of the natural instincts of mollusks: for this, it is necessary to artificially lower the temperature in the room so that the animals think that winter is coming, hide in shells and burrow in the soil. Then the snails are removed from the ground, sorted by kilogram packets and sent to the freezer (generally no more than two at 10 thousand each) are expected to be sent to the consumer’s table.

In the case of farm breeding, such a trick will not work and is possible only with the onset of real frost. In any case, there will be a year and a half to come to grips with future sales channels; These include large hypermarkets, specialized restaurants in major cities, and buyers in other countries. Export may be the most profitable direction, but the conclusion of such agreements will require the greatest efforts. You will have to spend money on ordering packaging and labels, which will average 10 rubles per package per kilogram sold for 200 rubles. Up to 4 thousand snails can be sold per month, which will amount to 200 kilograms of production or 40 thousand revenue. It can be increased if you closely engage in the time-consuming collection of caviar.

In the case of a farm, the profitability of such a business can reach 90%, while breeding in an apartment - slightly lower. Payback, however, will be at least two years, one and a half years of which will go only to wait for the first batch of delicacy.

Another promising area is cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, gastropods are used in the production of helicidin, which in turn is the basis of some cough relief drugs. Chemical industries will be interested in buying snails due to the release of lectins from them, which are used in some industries. At the same time, such cooperation can bring even more substantial income than orders for cooking, and illicit individuals can be used for sale, which for various reasons cannot go to the food industry. However, in such an undertaking there is a risk of being completely without buyers, because the product is exotic in its own way and not too popular, Russia is not a big consumer of such delicacies. Therefore, it is especially important to carefully study the market before starting.

Matthias Laudanum

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