Puppy love on Tungamah farm

By Jamie Salter

Tungamah mixed farmer Matthew O'Kane has a lot more on his plate after his six-year-old kelpie Meg gave birth to nine puppies — three males and six females — who are soon to find their forever homes.

What is the pedigree of the puppies?

Meg, the mum, is registered and I bought her at Jerilderie last year and then bred her with Dad's (Des O'Kane) kelpie Sam.

Sam has been a good dog for a long time for us, and we were hoping to breed a few pups since he's getting up there in age.

Mr O'Kane plans to keep two puppies and train them for farm work.

Will you be keeping the puppies?

We weren't expecting to get nine; four or five would have been plenty, but we'll keep a few and try to train a couple and probably sell the rest off to local farmers.

I'll keep one of each — a male and a female.

Are they a handful?

It's a big job raising nine puppies.

They all have different personalities that are starting to come out as they're getting older, you see some of them are a bit more timid and want to sit back and the others want to rush up to you.

Do they have names?

There's no real names yet, we sort of just name them after local larrikins from the area.

What do they eat?

They're mainly still on milk, they're all really fat and healthy, so Meg's been doing a really good job, but we've started feeding them a bit of powdered milk and some wet food.

There are three male and six female puppies.

Where do they sleep?

They all sleep together, I can't imagine it being comfortable, but they just pyramid all up until they're stacked on top of one another.

Will they be doing farm work?

It depends how well they perform early. We'll start off with a bit of basic training and hopefully they have good instincts and then we only have to guide them in the right direction.

We'll do a lot in the shearing sheds and in the yards mostly.

What's next for the puppies?

They've just started to run around a bit more, next week they'll go to the vet to get some injections and microchips and then they'll be ready to go to their new homes.