Okanagan woman seeks new legs, feet for beloved pet duck and chicken

Christina Hallam cradles her duck Millie at her hobby farm on May 15 in Salmon Arm. (Cameron Thomson/Salmon Arm Observer)
Christina Hallam gives a peck to her hen Columbus at her Tappen hobby farm. (Cameron Thomson/Salmon Arm Observer)
Christina Hallam’s pet chicken Columbus lost her toes last winter due to frostbite. (Cameron Thomson/Salmon Arm Observer)
Christina Hallam’s pet duck Millie lost her toes last winter due to frostbite. Hallam is hoping the Salmon Arm Innovation Centre can 3D print some prosthetic legs for the bird. (Cameron Thomson/Salmon Arm Observer)

A Salmon Arm woman is teaming up with the local Makerspace to create prosthetic legs and feet for a chicken and duck living on her farm.

Christina Hallam lives with her husband Corwin and more than 60 farm birds on her hobby farm in Tappen, west of Salmon Arm.

Christina explains how last winter, when temperatures dropped as low as -20 C, two of her birds – a hen named Columbus and a duck named Millie – received severe frostbite on their legs and toes, and the most damaged areas had to be removed.

READ MORE: Prosthetic gives duckling a new leg up on life

WATCH: Ducks on the road? Waddle they do?

A few months later, Christina started to think about ways to help her birds walk normally again. She went so far as to buy a toy Tyrannosaurus Rex and a King Kong gorilla from a thrift store, intending to repurpose the plastic legs for her birds.

Soon after purchasing the toys, Christina posted to a Shuswap Facebook page on a whim, asking if anyone had access to a 3D printer and might be able to custom design some prosthetics for Columbus and Millie. To her surprise, commenters quickly identified individuals and companies that could help.

“I got a really tremendous response I was quite impressed. I didn’t think there were many 3D printers out there,” said Christina. “This innovation company private messaged me and said they might be able to help me out.”

The organization that reached out to Christina was the Salmon Arm Innovation Centre, whose staff have enthusiastically offered their 3D printing services and know-how.

“I think it’s a great opportunity because who doesn’t like cute ducks?” said Thomas Briginshaw, executive director of the Salmon Arm Innovation Centre. “If we can help them get feet, of course we’d be happy to help and print whatever we can.”

READ MORE: Lake Country family sad they can’t keep their pet chickens

READ MORE: What makes chickens happy? University of Guelph researchers try to find out

Regarding the challenges that 3D printing prosthetic chicken and duck legs presents, the Innovation Centre is open to working with animal specialists to create the right kind of foot for the bird. There are also 3D printing plans that already exist online that could be modified for each unique leg.

“I think we can do it, I hope we can do it. I think it’s a cool project and something that will give the 3D printers who come here regularly something to work on too,” Briginshaw said.

The planning and design process between Christina and the Innovation Centre is to start next week.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Sooke’s Park Watch to cease operation

People not carrying money for donation boxes led to funding shortfalls

Western Speedway racing legend ‘The Flying Plumber’ turns 98

Dave Cooper recalls car crashes, his first win, and more

Second puppy killed by poisonous mushrooms in Victoria

Springer spaniel puppy died after consuming mushrooms in Fairfield neighbourhood

Nuisance tree will remain on perimeter of Fireman’s Park

Council re-affirm pledge to protecting healthy tree canopy

Driver charged in Central Saanich pedestrian’s death appears in court

Victim Kim Ward, 51, died on scene at the August 2018 crash

VIDEO: U.S. officials refute British couple’s ‘accidental’ border-crossing claim

Authorities say couple was arrested after illegal entry from B.C., with $16,000 and marijuana

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

Two RCMP vehicles vandalized in Duncan over long weekend

Local Mounties asking for help in finding culprits

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

Tickets available for Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame dinner and induction

Ryan Cochrane, Mike Piechnick and Rob Short among the inductees

Most Read