Snail farming or heliciculture
The Maison Royer produces, breeds, transforms and sells the snail known as the gros gris (big grey) or helix aspersa maxima. Today, it produces 12 tonnes of snails per year.
The Maison Royer is equipped with an entirely automated reproduction building. After a hibernation period, the reproducers are placed there at the beginning of January to mate and lay eggs up to March.
Although it is hermaphrodite, the snail must mate to be able to reproduce. This phase takes place during the months of February and March.
The snails then lay eggs into small soil-filled pots.
Next, the eggs are placed in hatcheries to become thousands of "baby snails" or naissains (hatchlings).
At the beginning of April, the snails are let into the 4,200 m² of fattening pens equipped with windbreak screens against the birds and electric fences to stop our friends from leaving us.
The snail grows until it reaches adulthood (when a lip has formed on the shell), in around September. They are then collected by hand and cooked a few weeks later.