Thanks to Tufts University, a compassionate chicken rehabilitation specialist, and the technology of 3D printing, a Massachusetts chicken will soon be fitted with a prosthetic leg, according to the New York Post. The 3-month-old hen, named Cicely, was born with a damaged tendon in one leg, severely impairing her ability to walk. However, Andrea Martin, who owns Black Thistle Farm in Clinton where she rehabilitates injured fowl, plans to spend $2,500 of her own money for the surgery in order to give the bird a normal life.
The alternative, according to Tufts veterinarians, was euthanasia, as the chicken would not have been able to transport itself in any way. Clinton, who spent $3,000 on a hysterectomy for another hen last year, said the choice was easy for her to make.
To perform the procedure, a Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine surgeon will amputate Cecily’s defective leg. Next, a veterinarian will run a CT-scan on Cicely’s healthy leg to allow an accurate prosthetic to be made. The hen will recover for 10 to 14 days before being fitted with the new prosthetic.
Tufts School of Engineering students plan to create the plastic prosthetic, collaborating with university veterinarians to ensure the final product is functional and comfortable, reports Tufts Now. Although similar surgeries have been performed on other birds and animals, this is the first to be conducted at Tufts, as well as the first to be performed on a chicken.
In England, a 3D designer worked with a 3D printing company to create a prosthetic leg for a duck that had been injured in a fight with a chicken. The designer posted a model of the duck foot and leg on his website, hoping to help other people rescue injured ducks.
Martin said she plans to write a children’s book about Cicely’s experience once the chicken has fully recovered.
Learn more about Tufts University at the school’s website.
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