Probiotics in Pet Foods


Recent trends in pet foods has seen an influx of probiotic bacteria being added in many popular brands of dog foods. However recent studies by the U.S. government have shown that most of these foods, when tested at the consumer level, do not contain all of the claimed organisms listed in the ingredients and some contain additional related organisms not listed. In some cases, living enzymes were not contained in the foods at all. So, why has this bacteria been added to the food in the first place?

There are many articles and websites touting the benefits of adding probiotic bacteria to pet food, most claiming this bacteria encourages healthy gut flora and aids digestion, improving the overall health of your animal. What they don’t mention is this bacteria is extremely sensitive, unable to live in heat or dry environments, which means kibbled dog food in particular is unable to support live bacteria. In fact, the process that most dog foods undergo during production is enough to kill off this bacteria as well as most of the nutrients from the original ingredients.

So if I can’t rely on the probiotic bacteria that has been said to be added to my dog’s food to maintain a healthy gut flora in my dog what can I do for my dog? There are many options for supplementing your dog’s digestive system without spending the extra money to buy a dog food brand with added probiotics. For example, plain yogurt is an excellent supplement for your pet’s food to supply them with a healthy dose of probiotics. Gut flora is also benefited by adding fresh, whole fruits and vegetables to your dog’s diet, the live plant matter adds both soluble and insoluble fiber which probiotics thrive off of, often called prebiotics. Be sure to research thoroughly if a particular fruit or vegetable is ok for your dog to eat before adding it to his diet.

By naturally maintaining healthy gut bacteria in your dog, you can keep him from getting sick, from feeling irritable, and it may even calm him down!


Natural Homemade Mouthwash


We made a simple natural, homemade mouthwash this week using purified water and clove essential oil. It is a simple recipe and only takes about a minute to mix. Simply add around 20 drops of clove essential oil to each cup of purified water. We recycled a glass bottle but any glass container will do. This recipe should keep indefinitely.

We chose to use clove essential oil because of its historical significance in dentistry for its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-septic qualities.  Clove oil is an effective agent in eliminating bad breath. It is also used for soothing toothaches, sore gums, mouth ulcers, and even healing cavities. If the clove oil mouthwash is swallowed on accident, it is no issue as the oil will improve digestion, is effective against stomach related problems, will improve blood circulation, control blood sugar, and boost the immune system!


Starting Yellow Bird Acres Urban Farm

Yellow Bird Acres Urban Farm

Yellow Bird Acres Urban Farm

Yellow Bird Acres Urban Farm has been developing a vision for quality, local pet food & supply in Calgary, Alberta. Our goal is to make  it easy for everyone to feed their animals fresh, quality food for lifelong health and happiness. Help us achieve our goal, donate towards our start-up costs.

Our current expenses to start up our urban farm is Provincial and Municipal licensing. We are looking at an approximate cost of $280.00 for total license costs. Another requirement for our urban farm to operate safely and efficiently is more space for refrigeration. Prices for proper refrigeration units may vary.

Help us provide fresh, nutritious, local food for your animals, we want to be your local farmer!




Radish (rad-ish)

Raphanus Sativus

How to Plant: Plant is free draining, well dug soil down to about 6 inches. This soil should have no stones in it. Radishes require slightly cool conditions to prevent them from bolting and going to seed. Sow the seeds about 1 inch deep, 2-3 seeds per inch. These seeds should germinate within 5-7 days and thin after two weeks to prevent bolting. Radishes do not compete for space well and need the extra room to grow larger root bulbs. Radishes will be ready 5 weeks after sowing and must be harvested asap. A layer of mulch surrounding the plants may deter root pests.

Every part of the radish plant are edible raw or cooked and the seed pods and flowers are extremely delicious. The leaves of the plant contain more vitamin C, protein and calcium than the root portion. Radish is rich is folic acid, zinc, b-complex vitamins, and phosphorus. Radish is also rich in anthocyanins which are said to be effective in fighting oral, colon, intestinal, kidney, and stomach cancers. Radish is also low in calories, cholesterol, and fat making it an ideal diet food. Radish juice helps sooth the digestive tract and detoxifies the body. Radish can also help ease congestion in the respiratory system, helping asthmatics. The plant is benefitial for the gall bladder and liver fuctions, containing sulfer based chemicals that regulate the flow and production of bilirubin and bile.

It has been these health benefits that have seen radish used in medicine. It is an effective treatment of jaundice as it is able to half the destruction of red blood cells and increase the supply of oxygen to the blood. It is also a natural diuretic and is very rich in roughage, facilitating digestion. Powdered seeds are used to treat leucoderma, soaked in vinegar, ginger juice, or cow’s urine then applied to the area. Smashed raw radish root can be used as a face pack and cleanser. It has anti-pruritic properties and can reduce pain and swelling caused by insect bites. Radish juice mixed with black salt and taken as a drink can bring down body temperature and relieve inflammation caused by fever, and as it is a great disinfectant, will fight the infection that caused the fever. It is also a good mouth and breath freshener.

Radish sprouts are a rich source of vitamins A, B, C, E, & K, minerals potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc. These sprouts contain a 26% protein content and naturally occuring estrogen, similar to human estrogen, making them helpful with symptoms related to PMS, Menopause, hot flashes, and fibrocystic disease.

 Yellow Bird Acres offers heirloom radish seeds that are perfectly suited and adapted to Zone 3a.


Spinach seeds & seedlings

Spinach seeds & seedlings

Spinach (spin-ich)

Spinacia Oleracea

Spinach is an annual edible flowering plant of the family Amaranthaceae. It is a versatile plant with high nutritional value.

How to grow: Before planting, keep in mind that spinach is one of those plants that is adverse to transplanting, choose a spot that you will be happy with. For best results year round, try to find a site that gives full sun in the cold and part shade in warm weather. Sow directly into the soil as soon as it can be worked, plant 1/2 inch deep, 2 inches apart. Thin seedlings to 6 inches apart when 4 inches tall, overcrowded seedlings have a tendency to bolt and go to seed early. Many people sow every two weeks until daily temperatures reach 25C to have a constant harvest. Begin sowing for autumn crops in mid-august. Days to germinate: 5-12

Spinach has a high nutritional value and is rich in antioxidants especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled. It is a rich source of vitamins A, B2, B6, C, E, and K, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, iron, calcium, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium, and omega 3 fatty acids.

Spinach can be prepared in a variety of ways but keep in mind spinach shrinks dramatically in volume when cooked. Spinach has a relatively short shelf life of 5-7 days in the refrigerator but may be frozen to prolong its life up to 8 months.

The value of the nutrients in spinach have contributed to its continued presence on our plates. Fiber in spinach aids in digestion and prevents constipation, it also maintains low blood sugar and curbs overeating. Spinach contains an abundance of flavonoids which is a phytonutrient with anti-cancer properties. These flavonoids have been shown to slow down cell division in stomach and skin cancer cells, they have also shown protection against occurrence of prostate cancer. Spinach has been shown to strengthen immunity, promote healthy skin, maintain strength and density of bones, fight cardiovascular disease and stroke, and contributes to a healthy nervous system and brain function.

Yellow Bird Acres offers heirloom spinach seeds that are perfectly suited and adapted to Zone 3a.


ImageKale (Keyl)

‘Brassica Oleracea’ var. Acephala

Kale is a versatile form of cabbage that prefers a cooler climate. It is an annual/biennial plant that overwinters well and becomes sweeter with cold. Hot weather will turn this cabbage bitter and tough but it is tolerant of almost any condition.

Starting from seed: Kale will germinate in temperatures as low as 5°C (45°F) but will germinate much more quickly in warmer temperatures. Direct seed outdoors as soon as the soil can be worked, you may also plant a few weeks before the first frost and cover with mulch to have an early spring crop. Space seeds 6-8 inches apart, cover with 1/2 inch of soil and don’t allow the soil to dry out until the seeds have germinated. Germination should occur within 5-10 days. Kale tolerates shade to full sun, keeping in mind this plant likes a cooler environment. Avoid planting with other members of the brassica family (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) as this may encourage pests.

Harvest the lower leaves of kale as soon as it is established. A general rule is to harvest a leaf of kale when the main stem of the leaf is thick, as the stems get thicker the tougher they become. Normal shelf life of fresh kale is around 2 weeks and there are many methods people use to extend this life. Some will place the stalks in water in the fridge like a vase as water will generally make the kale sweeter. Some keep kale moist and loose in bags, there are many ways to prolong the shelf life of this hardy plant.

Kale is an extremely nutritious plant. It is high in beta carotine, vitamins A, B, C, and K, lutein, and it is extremely rich in calcium. This plant also contains sulforaphane, a chemical with anti-cancer properties and helps lower risk of prostate, colorectal, and lung cancer. Sulforaphane is enhanced in this plant when it is chopped or minced while boiling will decrease the presence. Steaming, microwaving, and stir-frying does not effect this chemical. This plant is low-fat and contains no cholesterol with vitamin A slowing vision degeneration, and vitamin K promoting bone strengthening and limiting neuronal damage to the brain. It is this property that has made this plant an aid in treating people with Alzheimer’s. Kale can be prepared for consumption in almost any way or can be eaten raw. One of the most unique recipes for cooking kale is placing leaves on a baking sheet and popping them in the oven for crunchy kale chips.

Traditionally kale has been used as a home remedy to trigger hunger, soothing rashes, easing food allergy symptoms, and easing lung congestion. Kale is known to be beneficial to stomach, liver, and immune system and well as lowering risk of certain types of cancer as discussed above. Kale is also extremely beneficial to rabbits and aids in their digestion, reducing gas that can be fatal.

Yellow Bird Acres offers heirloom kale seeds that are perfectly suited and adapted to Zone 3a.



Oregano (oh-REHG-uh-noh)

‘Origanim Vulgare’

Oregano is an easy to grow herb that may be grown indoors or outdoors. It is a member of the mint family and a perennial plant that can be quite hardy, for example our oregano thrives in our unique zone 3a climate. Oregano is akin to Majoram but not as sweet.

Starting from seed: The seed of oregano is very fine. Some will mix the seed with fine sand for even distribution. There is no need to cover oregano seeds with dirt but if you must, keep this covering very shallow. Plant at least 12 inches apart, you should have germination within 10-14 days. Oregano likes warmth and does best when the soil is kept around 15 degrees Celsius. As with most plants, oregano will only drink water when it is thirsty, allow the soil to dry out between watering after sprouted. When grown indoors, choose a pot with depth as oregano has a long tap root system.

Harvest this herb as soon as it gets established. Constant harvest of this plant is possible as it has a very bushy nature, in most cases one plant will stretch up to 18 inches across. Harvesting should be done in the morning for the sweetest herbs. Fresh oregano can be kept refrigerated for up to 5 days. This herb can also be dried like most herbs to extend its life and in most cases will increase the flavor.

This herb works extremely well in tomato based sauces, pizza, meat stews and grilled or baked fish. Also works well with artichoke, beans, chicken, lamb, mushroom, potatoes, sausage, veal.

Oregano is also known for its medicinal qualities, in particular its antibacterial and antiparasitic qualities and as a potent antioxidant. Oregano is a natural souce of omega-3 fatty acids, rich in fiber, and high in iron and manganese. Oregano is also used for the treatment of indigestion, bloating, flatulence, and many other ailments.

Yellow Bird Acres offers heirloom oregano seeds that are perfectly suited and adapted to Zone 3a.