Snails, as you know, is a delicacy in France and Italy, among other European countries, though it is generally a pest here in Ireland.
In fact, most of us go out of our ways to protect our crops from snails, but have you ever considered farming them?
Snail meat actually contains a high amount of protein, while it is also low in fat. It also contains the amino acid, vital for human bodily functions and is also high in iron. They are an excellent source of nutrition and have been eaten by humans for thousands of years.
Snail meat is becoming increasingly popular and is, as mentioned earlier, a delicacy in France. They are also very popular in Italy and Western Africa. Snail meat can now even be bought in some of the larger commercial retailers!
There are also uses for the waste products of snails. The mucus from snails has long been used in the cosmetics industry, due to it being rich in collagen and glycolic acid. For this reason, it is added to cosmetics as an ingredient and even used by itself as a beauty treatment.
The shells of snails are extremely high in calcium and make excellent fertilizer, while the eggs from snails is used to make some caviars. The snail farming industry is now a billion euro industry, so why not chance your arm?
What is needed?:
A small patch of land, a half-acre at least, with a ph of between 5.8 to 7.5 and which is rich in calcium. The area should be cleared of any pests of predators, prior to the installation of your snail farm.
You can house the snails in anything from a Hutch box to a Trench pen, so long as it has a closed top and they are protected from predator attacks.
Hygiene is also very important to prevent serious infections and pest attacks, from insects such as ants, earwigs and millipedes. Birds, weasels, mice and rats are among the other predators one should protect their pens from. When snails are laying eggs, they require 2 inches deep soil.
They eat simply, leaves, fruits and vegetables and flowers. Snails are known to enjoy leaves from a huge variety of plants, while they also enjoy tubes such as sweet potato. Fruit-wise, they will eat bananas, pears, mangos and even fig tomatoes!
Ireland’s climate is perfectly suited to snail farming and it is a low-cost system, with increasing markets every day. It might be worth sliding into it!