As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday 4 July 2013

Prosthetic foot for duckling

There once was a limping duckling, with one foot all shrivelled and curved.

Now Buttercup will be able to waddle and dive for the first time – thanks to a prosthetic created by a 3D printer.

He was born with his left foot facing the wrong way, making it difficult to get around or swim properly.

But soon he’ll be fitting in with the other ducks at the pond after owner Mike Garey came up with a high-tech solution to his lameness. As the foot needs to be flexible, the usual plastics in 3D printing were not viable, so Mr Garey enlisted NovaCopy to create a mould for a silicone replacement.

‘Buttercup was in pain and had constant cuts and infections walking on the side of his foot,’ said Mr Garey, who runs Feathered Angels waterfowl sanctuary in Tennessee, USA.

‘After it was amputated, NovaCopy donated its services to aid in Buttercup’s recovery. Using photos of the left foot of Buttercup’s sister Minnie they designed a brand new left foot.

‘This version will have a stretchy silicone sock instead of the finger trap, which will roll up on his leg and have a fastener in the bottom.’

Mr Garey said the material is similar to the gel-like product used in the 2011 film Dolphin Tale about a dolphin which was given a prosthetic tail. He is now waiting for the final parts to arrive in the next two weeks to complete Buttercup’s transformation.

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