Those who haven't thought about it yet have time to do it: why not devote themselves to heliciculture? In practice, it is about pursuing a career as a snail farmer. The gain is not guaranteed but you can achieve some success with a good mix of commitment and luck, as well as a lot of dedication that is always needed, when it comes to cultivating. Even if this time instead of a vegetable, we are "cultivating ”an animal. There are exaggerated figures, let us not be fooled, normally you do not become a billionaire with heliciculture, but this does not mean that it is a dream in the drawer to be thrown away.
Before entering into the merits of the operations necessary to start this activity, it is better to clarify that it is an agricultural work that requires time and effort but which allows you to make land with accessible starting costs and without the need to purchase special machinery.
Heliciculture: snail slime
How you earn by breeding snails? The two main sources of income are certainly the sale of meat and snail slime, two markets that have been launched, to which, if desired, the more niche ones, at least for now, such as eggs can be added. In fact, we are only now starting to talk about "Snail caviar".
In general, beyond the direction we have chosen to pursue, we must know that our revenues will be directly proportional to size of our farm, or the number of fences we will create. For the rest we must know how to play our cards, on the one hand trying to reproduce the snails as best as possible, on the other by identifying interesting sales channels.
When producing and selling the snail slime we turn to the cosmetics sector. This substance is in fact used in this field due to its numerous and important properties. It is moisturizing, thanks to the mucopolysaccharides that have the power to retain water on the skin and ensure a long-lasting moisturizing effect.
It is healing: due to the combined effect of substances such as collagen, allantoin and vitamins, it is soothing, regenerating and nourishing. Snail slime also works like wrinkle, because it stimulates collagen synthesis, and anti-stretch marks, thanks to the regenerating action of vitamins and proteins and the exfoliating action of glycolic acid. Finally, we find this substance also used against blemishes and acne marks.
The other possibility linked to heliciculture is the sale of meat for gastronomy. In this case we turn to restaurants, festivals, shops, butchers, fishmongers, food, catering, fairs and markets and so on. To learn more about this, you can read the article on how to sell snail meat. Prices may vary but at the moment we can say that at the national level, wholesale snails are quoted at 4.50 euros per kg, while at the retail level they reach around 10-12 euros per kg.
Having chosen one of the two paths, we can proceed withstart of our business for which it is necessary to face some departure expenses. Let's see the main ones and, in fact, indispensable.
The first thing to get is a plot of land in which to establish the farm that we can rent or buy. It is not necessary to procure immense areas, especially if this is the first experience, but it is essential to make sure that the land identified provides a access to water and the possibility of build fences. It would also be great to have space for a tool shed at least nearby. Those used for heliciculture can also be non-building land which therefore have a very low market value, whether it is a question of purchase or rent.
Once the ground has been found, the fencing is provided, or rather, two fences: the external one and the internal one. The first is the perimeter one, it serves to delimit our breeding and for protect snails from possible predators like mice and various reptiles. This fence must be buried for a minimum of 30 centimeters in depth, to make it using sheet metal, preferably corrugated.
The internal fence is made up of a series of enclosures for the snails we host, all made with a professional net made especially for protect snails from ultraviolet rays. It is made of an anti-burr and anti-escape material, the fence must be placed side by side with an irrigation system that is used to wet the fences and is essential. The ideal is to place it at the top, with connected micro nebulizers, placed a couple of meters from each other.
Once the location has been fixed, it's time to buy the breeders. Let's look for certificates, for each fence of about 46 by 3.5 meters you need 30 kg, but obviously the fences can also have different sizes and in turn a different capacity. To feed our snails we must also get some crop seeds ad hoc that can also cast shade. In this sense, the most used are the chard for cutting and chard, to be sown in spring.
We are almost finished, we just have to equip ourselves with the appropriate equipment to manage our helicopter breeding, starting from the lawn mower and brush cutter.
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