The smallest livestock you can raise, even in an apartment or smaller space
A few years ago, I posted an article I had written on snail farming here at The Grow Network. To my surprise... as I'm often too unconventional even for Permaculture forums, it was very well received. @Marjory Wildcraft even sent me a very nice message saying that even if people didn't care to eat snails, she thought my snail farming system would be a great way to raise chicken and duck feed. And thus, I found a home at TGN.
I'll post the link to that discussion below. I came up with a table-top snail farming system that could really provide a lot of delicious protein for adventurous eaters, like myself. Few people realize that snails came to North America as the most easily portable livestock brought here by mostly Irish, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish immigrants. Snail hibernate/go dormant in winter or dry weather. They tuck into their shells and seal themselves off waiting for spring rains. Immigrants brought sacks of dormant snails to the Americas as survival food. Snails are hermaphroditic. Just two snails can lay thousands of eggs that can be eaten as a type of caviar if salted, or hatch into this little guy:
That, is a day old snail on the tip of my finger. Snails are incredibly sensitive. They need clean air and water, sun and shade and only fresh vegetables/scraps. Any rot or unsanitary conditions will cause them to become diseased and die within 48 hours. They are NOT slugs. Slugs prey on snails. Slugs are nasty things. Snails are actually quite clean. Raising them is really like keeping tiny chickens! They eat your vegetable scraps and egg shells, reproduce and grow into, essentially, land terrestrial clams. You can cook them much like clams or muscles - they become tough it over cooked, but can make a nice stew or chowder. They are delicious with Burgundy Butter!
"But Judson." you exclaim, "I am not a crazy hillbilly... I don't eat snails!!!" Okay, well you have likely heard of worm farming. Now, consider a small terrarium like container of snails in your kitchen. You feed them your fresh vegetable scraps and they make rich "snail compost". But, unlike worms, you can enjoy watching them grow, seeing the little hatchings and keeping them as you might keep goldfish. And, if the SHTF... feed them wheat flour and clean water for a couple of days... then get a pot of salted water boiling for a quick blanch that will kill them and remove all slime. If you plant parsley and chives in your snail farm, it will keep the snails healthy and improve their flavor dramatically.... think clams with a bit of and earthy/mushroom and herb flavor.
Here is the link to that post: Raising Snails for Food... not really llivestock, but.... — The Grow Network Community