Sunday, March 22, 2009

BREEDING

If you want to eat garden snails regularly, then you should breed them.
A vivarium, a wooden box, bucket or washing bowl are suitable for snails to breed in, if outside, should be placed in full shade. Ideally they are kept at 20o C in damp air to breed, so in a greenhouse or coldframe is better. Spray water in the house to keep it damp. Where it’s warmer in Italy and France the whole life cycle is outdoors. They need good moist soil is a flowerpot or box to lay the eggs in.
Rodents and birds must be kept out.

They are hermaphrodites, but two must mate to breed. You can keep just two fine large specimens together in quite a small container. The eggs take three weeks to hatch if they’re kept at 20o C. In good conditions they are mature and ready to eat after 3 months of growing.

To grow they need lime to make their shells, so for keeping snails long term, it is important to provide lime. Crushed oyster shell is suitable, but I think powdered lime is best, available from garden centres, or cheaper is a sack from a builders merchant. It's good for the soil when growing vegetables too.

They can produce 100s of young, so a bigger house is necessary for them to grow up in. I have an old cracked aquarium, but an enclosed space can be made with special snail netting. I could only find it in rolls. I will buy a roll, and sell shorter lengths to any of you who would like some.

In theory ( I haven't personally done this yet) it is possible to produce edible mature snails by autumn or late summer from a pair put together in the spring. I have paired two up, and wait in hope!

26 comments:

  1. maybe a couple of pics (the breeding box and how look already served on a dish) would be a neat add, just my opinion, odd but cool blog btw
    a hug

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  2. Excellent information.
    So, what kind of snails can i eat.. all i find with a house or only the brown ones?
    Many thanks in advance!
    Birgit

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    1. Any in theory, but the brown ones are our biggest and best. The larger Roman snails are best of all, because of their size. They are rare to find. Commercially it's usualy the brown ones (Helix aspersa) that you buy.

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  3. why eat them i have them as a pets . there so cute.

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    1. So Do I!!!! I Only Came On This 4 Some Advice To Breed. Why Eat Em', Im Keeping My Babies As Pets If My Snails Mate

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  4. thank you. How many young is it possible / likely to get from a pairing of two? Is it better to start with 3 or four if you hope for a meal? How long can they be left unattended? If they are left in the shade will a container retain enough moisture? do they only need to be moist while breeding? Can you leave them with the container upside down on fresh grass to replace vegetables while you are away or will they escape?
    Is it best to keep them indoors where there is central heating in Britain in the winter?
    I would like to try this!

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    1. Loads of babies can result from one pairing, like 50 or more.
      They can be left alone all winter outside, as they hibernate. in summer they must have moisture and food. Leave food that keeps well, like root vegetables and keep in a shady place. On the grass as you suggest is good, but give them extra too, a potato would do.

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  5. I got some snails off of the side of my house I put them in a container about the size of a CD and are on a few inches of dirt would hat be good

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  6. Dear JR
    Have a look at the slideshow to see what my breeding box was like.
    Yours sounds rather small to fit food, water and lime in.
    Oriole

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  7. Dear Anonymous,
    I answered your question dated April 18 2011 on the main page I think. Oriole

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  8. This is so sad - poor snails!!

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    1. I Know!!! Who Could EAT THEM!!! Not MEH!!!!!

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  9. They're So Sweet! Please Don't Eat Them! Just Breed Them For Cute Iccle Babies!!!

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  10. And what about slugs???

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  11. Hi Oriole, thanks for your blog,do you know any good books in the matter? and would you know who are the buyers and where? I like your blog is simple and concise. thanks Oriole.xxxcarla.

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    1. I couldn't find such a book. I will write one when a publisher commissions me to! -- Oriole

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  12. Does anyone know of a supplier for the fancier edible snails?
    urbanhomesteadhoney@gmail.com

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    1. http://thefoodiebugle.com/article/producers/the-dorset-snail-trail

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  13. Don't you need to feed them a certain way for a little while before harvesting them, to clean their innards and make them taste better?

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    1. Yes, this is called purging. feeding them garlic and onions should give good flavour, then you don't need to let them empty their guts. Some leave them without food for 2 days. Most of what eat is fine as it is in the real world.
      Check in the Search box on the right.

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  14. I have them as pets!
    :'(

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  15. I recently put a pair together in the same box. So far nothing has happened! How long does it take for them to mate???
    Thanks,
    Anonymous snail fan

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  16. I do not eat snails...YUCK!!Who the heck eats snails?

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I'm trying to answer Comments by "replying" to them.
so the answer should show under your question. -- Oriole