The Right Place
The coastal mountains west of Paso Robles are a great spot to raise grass-fed beef and sheep naturally. One old cowboy calls our ranch the "honey hole" due to its ample natural feed for livestock. Annual rainfall totals over 30 inches per year on average, which is the result of our proximity to the ocean (just 12 miles to the southwest) and our mountain valley location. Our rich, rolling hills are prime oak woodland, covered with thick grasses and forbs, like wild rye, clover, vetch and filaree. This natural, high-energy feed results in fat, well muscled cattle and lambs without resorting to grain-based feeds and supplements that are the staple of commercial feedlots. We never use hormone supplements or antibiotics, which are common in grocery store meats.
We take a natural and holistic approach to livestock grazing, with an eye to enhancing rather than depleting the ranch soils and ecosystem. We rotate the pastures for the cattle and sheep regularly, which delivers several benefits. By not leaving them on a pasture for too long, we allow for adequate grass and litter from the trampled feed to cover the ground. This protects the soil and its rich microbial life from the sun and possible erosion from intense rainfall. Good ground cover slows runoff and increases the water holding capacity of the soils. The hooves and dung of the animals naturally prepare the soil for new growth, increasing the carrying capacity of the land for both livestock and wildlife. At any time, most of the ranch is reserved for the abundant native wildlife. We also graze sheep in the vineyard during the winter instead of using herbicides and mowers. The sheep thrive on the rich vineyard cover crop, effectively turning sunlight into delicious, natural meat.
About Our Livestock
Adelaida Springs Ranch cattle are purebred Angus or crossbred with Red Devon. We raise our cattle entirely on our home ranch pasture grass. Some years we feed a little supplementary hay and minerals in the fall.
The Dorper sheep breed hails from South Africa and was originally bred to tolerate arid conditions. It is derived from the two parent types: Dorset Horn and Blackhead Persian. They are self shedding and require no shearing. This handsome, stocky hair sheep produces only a small amount of lanolin compared to woolly breeds, making for milder, sweeter flavored lamb meat. Sheep and their lambs are vulnerable to predation--coyotes, mountain lions, even eagles, so our guardian dog helps keep the sheep and their lambs a little safer. Currently, we have a female Great Pyrenees named Daphne.