Snail Farming (Heliciculture)

General

This information is from a past project and whilst it is outdated it may still be a viable diversification option under the correct circumstances.

Interest in Heliciculture has been generated by a shortfall in production in France and Eastern Europe.

There are five systems of production. The two main ones are in the semi-intensive `Parc' system (part indoors, part outdoors) and the intensive indoor system. It has a lower capital requirement, but experience shows this system is not particularly suitable to the Scottish climate.

The small number of intensive units have higher capital costs, running costs and labour requirements, but this system is, perhaps, more suited to Scottish conditions. The output may be breeding stock, fresh edible snails, processed snails and by-products, e.g. shells and eggs.

The two main genera are Helix and Achatina. Helix is preferred for fresh and frozen produce, while Achatina is the main one processed. Snails reach maturity in 10 - 20 weeks depending on the species and they can then be sold for breeding or for the table. 

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