When to call a vet

Spring is a very exciting season on the farm. Lambing, calvings, foalings, unpackings and much more are always something to look forward to.

There are a few things to think about before the animals are born to make sure everything goes smoothly. Preparing a birthing kit, knowing when to intervene and knowing when you need to call the vet.

Preparing a birthing kit

These kits will need to be tailor made depending on what species you have. It is essential that you have supplies on hand as often they will have trouble when shops and vet clinics are not open.

Below are a few items that may be helpful to include

  • Equipment for you to help deliver the young – appropriate disinfectant, gloves, lube, calving chains or lambing ropes.
  • Products to look after the mother – a warm cover, energy drenches or metabolic products (cattle and sheep). This cam be used as a preventive treatment as well as for a treatment.
  • Products for the newborn – 10% Iodine spray for the navel, colostrum powder, a teat, a bottle and tube feeder, a warm jacket, a thermometer.


When to call the vet

Call the clinic at any stage if you are ever unsure if what is happening is normal.

Cattle and Sheep

  • If the water bag has been broken for two hours or more with no progress.
  • Abnormal presentation such as legs with no head, upside down feet, head with no legs, or if the calf or lamb seems to be coming out backwards.
  • If the now or ewe has stopped having contractions and no calf or lamb has come out.
  • If the ewe or cow seems to be in a lot of distress with no progress.


  • “Red bag” (chorioallantois) appears instead of “white bag” (amnion).
  • White bag present with no appearance of head or legs
  • Prolonged rest periods during active labour
  • Straining with no progress
  • “White bag” doesn’t appear after waters break.
  • No foetal membrane expelled after three to five hours
  • Foal does not pass meconium (first faeces) within first three hours of life.


  • If unpacking occurs later in the afternoon (usually occurs between 9am and 2pm).

Talk to our staff about which products we would recommend having on hand.