Breeding technology

Helix Aspersa Maxima and Muller snails historically brought to Lithuania form southern parts of Europe and are not used to overcome harsh Eastern European winters. They simply die in a temperature below zero degrees Celsius.  Breeding of these snails in Lithuania is unique because of relatively short warm period of a year (suitable weather for snail breeding in open fields lasts not more than six months).

This is just enough to raise snail from caviar to mature. Snail suitable for human consumption. Green food ration is additionally supplied with dry fodders as in all snail farms around the world. Southern European snail farmers are more lucky due to climate singularities and can afford to take even two harvests each year. In Lithuania this is not so simple and if to breed snails in open fields, it is simply impossible.

 

We use 3 step breeding cycle:

1. Indoor breeding (February - April)

Main purpose for indoor snail breeding is o gather caviar from which small snail babies will occur. It take time and depends mainly on a maturity level of snails used for reproduction. But it never is shorter than 2 months. At this breeding stage there must be ensured several factors: temperature, hygiene, humidity, illumination and ventilation. These are critical factors for fluent caviar gathering and production of snail babies.

 

 

 

2. Greenhouse (May - June)

Breeding in greenhouse is an intermediate stage between indoor and open field. It is necessary to "win" enough time for snail to grow. Due to cold spring nights snail babies could freeze and mortality rate can be fatal. So it is necessary, for at least 1 month, to place snail babies in a greenhouse. After outside temperature rises high enough that snail babies can withstand, they are released into open fields.

 

 

 

3. Breeding in open fields (July - October)

Breeding in open fields is the main fattening stage. It takes not as much work time as indoor breeding. Daily caretaking is necessary but it limits to watering and supplying of dry fodders. Main factors in this stage is density, humidity and snail food. Preparation of fields takes time but later work efforts can be minimal (depends on amount of snails being bred).

 

 

 

Finally - harvest collection

It can start as early as from August. Some snails get mature earlier than others. So, collection could start from August including September and October. It is perfect that snails would be collected till November due to a colder nights. One day of temperature of minus degrees Celsius could ruin all efforts of a year. Snails are being collected in a specially made boxes with a nets on a top and a bottom. They are being watered as well in order to clean their stomach from any food which is left. Later they are left in a dry place for approx 1 week dry and seal themselves into shells. After that they are collected into net bags, put into boxes and placed in an environment with a temperature of 5 - 8 degrees Celsius. In such conditions they can hibernate almost half a year until being sold.