Chicken to be fitted with artificial limb made by 3D printer
Boston-based fowl to receive prosthetic poultry-part in $2,500 op
A chicken in Massachusetts, US is to be fitted with a prosthetic limb made on a 3D printer, in a procedure said to be the first ever performed on poultry, Reuters reported.
The fortunate fowl, named Cicely, will have her right leg amputated tomorrow at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, in the first stage of the procedure. Cicely was born three months ago with a torn tendon, which hampers her mobility.
Cicely will rest for two weeks before the fitting of the artificial limb. During the amputation phase, Dr Emi Knafo of Tufts will run a CT-scan on Cicely's healthy left leg, which will form the template for the 3-D printer.
Cicely's owner is Andrea Martin of Black Thistle Farm, which lies about 72 km west of Boston. Martin will have to fork out $2,500 for the operation, but is not fazed. When the chicken was first examined by Tufts, Martin was told that euthanasia or prosthesis were her only options.
"It was a no-brainer," she said in a phone interview. "She needs to be able to live a normal life. Anytime you do surgery on a bird, it's a risk, but I am optimistic. I think this will make her very happy. It's worth it."
Martin spent $3,000 last year on a hysterectomy for one of her hens.
Similar operations have been carried out on other animals, but Knafo said she believed Cicely's procedure would mark the first time it has been attempted on a chicken.
Martin plans to write a children's book chronicling Cicely's ordeal, if the operation is successful.
"She needs to tell her story," Martin said.
We can only presume, given Martin's dedication and willingness to pay $2,500, that Cicely is unlikely to end her days on a dinner plate. Cicely herself was not available for comment.