Alimentation

According to the 40-60% scheme, the positioning of both the reproduction and the fattening areas inside one single enclosure implies correct management of the sowing stage of vegetation. The first area has to be sown in time so it is ready for the reproducers, whereas the second has to be set up following calculated precise timing, in order to attract the small snails when the vegetation in the first area (where they have spent the winter) has run out.

The management of this delicate stage obviously requires the prudent use of supplementary vegetation, once both the snails’ behavior and the breeding farm conditions have been carefully observed. The key concept, in the stage in which the transfer takes place, is the "induction to migration": the procedure of soliciting the snails to move towards the partition net by using supplementary vegetation. The supplementary alimentation should be added progressively, starting from the bottom of the enclosure intended for reproduction, one meter at a time, day by day.

This process, which is simple and easily executable, will take one month on average. Obviously, every breeder will have to interpret their own herd’s behavior and act accordingly, increasing or reducing the insertion of supplementary vegetation according to the pace of progression towards the partition net. This sensitivity can only be developed by the snail breeders themselves who, at this stage, should be to constantly supervising the breeding farm and punctually verifying the conditions of each enclosure so that with the use unwritten laws of nature, they can be inhabited by animals that respond in different ways to the same stimulations. The approach has to be personalized, careful, and above all reactive to the changes considering this transfer stage is fundamental. Once the snails have been led to the partition net it will have to be raised. At the same time the insertion of supplementary vegetation will have to be suspended in the reproduction area and moved to the fattening area.

The transfer of all snails will have to be accomplished within 15-20 days.

With regards to "late" or "lazy" snails (a residual percentage) a cabbage head or any large leaf plant can be used to attract them and then easily move them a few meters into the right area.

Proposed supplementary vegetation - there are basically three types:

• SELF-PRODUCED: cultivated outside the enclosures and taken care of and handled by the breeders themselves in accordance with the seasons.

• PURCHASED: snail breeders who make this decision have to take into account the deriving costs, and above all have to be certain they can rely on a constant and adequate supply (e.g., waste carrots) during the period of natural migration.

• PROCURED: snail breeders can obtain this through different channels, for instance by collecting the waste of industries who utilize vegetables in the preparation of recipes or in the processing of products, or by collecting the waste of vegetable market stalls. This latter option, which obviously is not within everyone's reach, is the most convenient both financially and in terms of time-saving.     

 

Supplementary vegetation is actually extraordinarily useful during the stages in which vegetation starts to run out or has been covered and smudged by the snails, which makes it no longer appetizing for them. This condition typically occurs in the months of October and November when snails, for the aforementioned reasons, gather along the perimeters of the enclosures, in search of a ‘way out’ and better food. In these circumstances, it is necessary to substantially nourish the snails with supplementary alimentation and prolong this stratagem until December, a month in which snails carry out the self-burial and hibernation process in order to protect themselves from the cold (traditionally in the North, due to frigid temperatures). In Southern countries, which are favored by a milder climate, this stage has to be managed carefully, respecting the weather conditions and attentively supervising the self-burial process. Particularly in hot seasons, snails not feeling the need to protect themselves from frigid temperatures can actually skip the hibernation stage.

This situation is clearly positive, as it realizes the condition of accelerating the phase of growth and formation, anticipating the maturity that is the salability of the product. A very attentive carefulness and a strong sensitivity trained on a daily basis are essential - in order to give the right supply of food and to react promptly in case of behavioral change of the livestock.

Supplementary Sowing

 

In areas of terrain (that can even be external to the breeding facilities) supplementary vegetation (which will be placed in the fattening enclosures once they are in bloom) can be cultivated. A few easy-rooting type of vegetables can be cultivated - selecting the most appetizing ones and which require little maintenance.

The main type utilized as supplementary alimentation is Sunflower, which is sown 6 or 7 times, at different moments, in order to provide plants that are soft, green and blooming for a long seasonal period until late winter. An idea: sow the area intended for this every two weeks, starting every year in March and keep sowing every 15-20 days. The last time around August 10th-15th in order to have the plants still blooming throughout October - thus being able to feed the newborn snails or those undergoing the final fattening stage.

Other vegetable species to be sown in these areas are Proetor cabbage, kale cabbage and Swiss chard. The total space destined for the cultivation of supplementary vegetables should not be inferior to 1/5 of the entire space intended for the actual breeding.

In autumn, this area (which is in continuous crop rotation), is sown with rapeseed - a plant that grows during the cold period and is ready to be picked as soon as the snails awake after the long winter period.

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