24 February 2016 Soil preparation for hatching cups
Snails prefer fresh soil as the substrate for laying eggs, which means that we should replace the soil every day, during cleaning of reproduction tables and during feeding. It is permitted to replace the hatching cups once every three days, if no snail burrows during that time. If burrowed snails are found, then the cups must be replaced and the burrowed snails should be placed in the hatching/breeding pod (or a special rack which prevents the snails from escaping once eggs are laid). The hatching cups should be completely filled with moist soil mixed with chalk, but why??
– dry soil in cups absorbs moisture from eggs and causes the cocoons to dry excessively
– eggs mature in appropriately moist soil, increasing the chance of little snails hatching from all eggs
Soil used in hatching cups should be a mixture of turf, pH 5.5 – pH 7.2 and feedstock chalk, as well as an appropriate amount of water. The mixture should be prepared in a 5-to-1 ratio (5 parts turf per 1 part chalk), sprinkled with water until appropriate moisture content is achieved. The moisture content may be checked by pressing the mixture in a hand. If the soil does not turn muddy and does not fall apart, but forms a cohesive clump, the moisture content is correct.