Feed conversion ratio for pigs




Commercial swine are bred specifically for meat. They are kept in confinement to help prevent disease. They are not ranged, and are kept penned for the purposes of quickly, gaining weight and to prevent the loss of too many calories. Each commercial breed of swine are specifically bred and altered through breed management to produce either loin chops, or pork belly (for bacon), or hams, or shoulder roasts etc.

Rarely will you find a commercial strain/breed of swine that is designed to produce multiple cuts of pork meat.

Commercial swine consume from 8-10/lbs. of commercial/industrialized swine fodder each day. Commercial/industrialized swine fodder will usually consist of commodity grains such as, corn, soy, wheat, barley, oats, flax seeds, and other ingredients for vitamins and minerals. Commercial swine fodder is usually medicated to help prevent intestinal parasites, disease or illness.

Commercial swine farmers spend anywhere from $$45.-$58. on fodder for one hog. The total cost to raise one commercial hog is around $90.00. The average cost to raise a commercial pig is about 48 - 58% of the total cost to raise it!

Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) or feed conversion efficiency (FCE) is the overall ability of livestock to turn feed and fodder mass into body (muscle) mass. Commercial pig's conversion ratio is usually about 3 - 5.(depending on specific breed)

This will affect the price consumers pay for various pork cuts.

VS. The Majority of Small Family Farms

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Heritage swine are old fashioned breeds, and by nature's design are multi-purpose animals. They are natural breeders and do not require artificial insemination. They make good mothers and provide safe nesting for their young. The piglets are encouraged by the mother sow to naturally root in the soil to get much needed iron, naturally, instead of relying upon iron injections at birth. When hogs are grown on outside pastures or open ranges, they require constant management (clean-up, removal of manure, fresh, dry bedding, clean soil, safe and secure housing, strong fencing, access to fresh water 24/7 etc.). When hogs are grown on open ranges, they will burn calories, fight, establish dominance among the herd, they mate, run, play, sunbathe, take mud baths and tend to each other.

Heritage breeds of swine will produce generous amounts of various pork cuts, but often not to the size of commercial breeds. When heritage hogs are grown on open range, the meat will naturally be leaner than that of commercial pork, simply because they are burning more calories. In fact, swine are not supposed to be fatty or overweight. They are intended to have a tight muscular build and be naturally lean. Remember, swine, hogs, pigs forage, hunt and root for food and by nature's design they are a clean-up crew, and NOT VEGETARIANS!

The same as commercial swine, most pasture-based and open range hog farms, (even organic) feed commercial fodder to their hog-herds. The difference may be that the small, family farms will grow hogs outside, instead of inside, provide open range, instead of confinement and be more personally attentive to their herds, which may lead the consumer to believing that the pork was humanely raised. Another difference will be that many small, family, hog farms get FREE garbage fodder from sustainability, recycling centers delivered direct to the farm from food recycling centers (restaurants, buffet, butcher shops, food and packaging facilities, and similar) which helps provide diversified meal options to the swine herds for pennies VS. dollars. In most cases, all swine are vaccinated, and most piglets are started on medicated feed.

Some of the problems associated with dumping large amounts of organic garbage-food waste into free-range hog areas is that the food is already rotting and decomposing, attracting flies and other nuisance insects. Another issue is sanitation. Hogs will sleep and roll around in the food, getting the smell of rotting organics, which attracts problematic invasive insects such as lice, mites, fleas and even unwanted rodents. One of biggest problems is that as the rotting food decomposes, it becomes mush, and loaded with maggots, dung beetles and similar. Hogs move the food around, and because they are in a controlled range, they tend to urinate and defecate on the food that they are eating. This can cause intestinal, parasitic issues as well as various other problems such as swine disease. Eventually these types of practices lead to the use of antibiotics, de-worming, vaccines, unnecessary loss of piglets, death of mother-sows and even soil contamination.


On most family farms, such as the one's mention in the above section, hogs consume from 10-12/lbs. of fodder each day. Swine fodder on farms as the one's mentioned above will usually consist of commodity grains such as, corn, soy, wheat, barley, oats, flax seeds, spoiled fruit, vegetable and root crops and recycled (cooked and raw) garbage-foods intended for composting (from food recycling centers) and other ingredients for vitamins and minerals. Most small family, hog farmers will vaccinate piglets and de-worm the hogs before slaughter date.

Small family, heritage swine farmers spend anywhere from $$40.-$53. on fodder for one hog. The total cost to raise one commercial hog is around $85.00. The average cost to raise a commercial pig is about 45 - 55% of the total cost to raise it!




Rainbow Ranch Farms grow heritage, old fashioned breeds, many of which are considered endangered or rare. One of the best ways to help prevent the extinction of heritage livestock is to help improve the breed, and educate the public on the multiple uses, and benefits of said breeds.

Rainbow Ranch Farms provides clean, open range for hogs, with large community-based shelters. The boars are kept with the sows and families are not split or separated. Piglets are grown with both parents.


Rainbow Ranch Farms is well known for growing and producing the cleanest food. Some of the reasons are that, Rainbow Ranch Farms does NOT VACCINATE hogs, never feed medicated feeds or administer any pharmaceuticals (including iron shots) to hogs intended for slaughter.

Hogs at Rainbow Ranch Farms eat a seasonal "RAW" and extremely-organic diet consisting of local heirloom or certified organic, pesticide-free fruit, vegetables, root crops, pasture grasses, proteins, fats and fiber direct from our own Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) programs and participating spin-farmers.


Another difference is that Rainbow Ranch Farms bedding and food are cyanide-free, arsenic-free and allergy-free. Rainbow Ranch Farms hogs, swine, pigs are grown WITHOUT corn, soy, or wheat. They are never fed fish, cooked meats, food-garbage or flax (linseed). Rainbow Ranch Farms heritage pigs are G.M.O.-FREE & gluten-free, as nature intended.

Rainbow Ranch Farms, adult hogs consume from 20-50/lbs. of food each day. They are rotated into the gardens for fresh pasture-grass and rooting, and utilized as part of Rainbow Ranch Farms sustainable, rotational grazing and natural tilling protocol.

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Heritage pork at Rainbow Ranch Farms is higher in Omega-3/Omega-6 fatty acid balance; it is higher in CLA's and contains higher, overall nutrient density values. Rainbow Ranch Farms heritage hogs are fed a seasonal, locally-grown "species-specific" diet, and the exceptional, delicious pork flavor will differ with each season. Rainbow Ranch Farms pork is "TERRIOR", and is considered by many a boutique pork product, but we call it Nutrient-Dense, Rainbow Pork!


Rainbow Ranch Farms heritage hogs take up to three (3X) times longer to grow, since they are naturally slow-grown. It is more expensive to produce this type of exceptional, extremely-organic, sustainable pork because Rainbow Ranch Farms hosts entire swine herds’ all-year to include the boars, sows and grow-off pigs. This means that the cost of one market size hog that weighs about 250/lbs. include the price of managing, caring and providing for the mother-Sow and the father-boar too, (as well as any young piglet losses).

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The fact that Rainbow Ranch Farms hogs are never fed cheap, filler grains, garbage-food or waste, naturally raises the cost of production to a premium, especially since the hogs are provided human-grade, heirloom or certified organic food. NO SLOP at RRF!

RRF Swine Costs Include:

Daily, manual/hand removal of manure (stress-free/tractor-free)

Daily removal and replacement of bedding

Daily hand-feeding

Weekly auto-feeder: top-off (2-Ton hopper)

Daily hog-health inspections

Weekly hog-feces microscopic exam

Daily fresh-bedding

Hog grooming and hoof trimming (as needed)

Maintenance, repair or upgrades of living quarters and shelters (as needed)

24/7 fresh, filtered water (Auto)

Vet-Check certificate (as needed)

Annual pork test (nutrient density & quality)


Slaughter & USDA inspection

Hand carving, cut/wrap service and additional USDA inspection


Just to name a few...

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