Washington County duck putting his other best foot forward
WHITE CREEK, N.Y. (WRGB) - When a White Creek family’s beloved duck lost his leg to a weasel attack, they weren’t sure he’d survive. But thanks to a prosthetic leg, Stumpy is waddling around again almost as good as new.
“The thought of putting a prosthetic leg on a duck never crossed my mind in my wildest dreams until it was right in front of me!” Renee McEvilly says with a laugh.
Renee and her husband, Ronald, own Erin’s Acres, a family farm in the quiet town of White Creek. There are goats, ponies, and more than a dozen Welsh Harlequin ducks; a rare breed on the endangered species list. The McEvilly family was devastated when in November a weasel found its way into their pen and killed two of the ducks. Stumpy survived, but was injured.
“I was the one that found him," Renee says. “We brought him up and threw him in the tub. We saw the leg was still kind of there.”
But the leg couldn’t be saved and ended up naturally falling off. Ronald and Renee saw how the duck was struggling.
“He has to use his wind and hop around on one leg,” Ronald says. “It’s tough for him. So, we wanted to see him enjoy life.”
Ronald made a call to his good friend, Morgan Hamilton. An expert in 3D printing, Hamilton had the perfect solution – a prosthetic duck leg made by a 3D printer.
“We had all the tools to do this, so when Ron came to me I couldn’t say no,” Hamilton says.
Hamilton works for Cisco Systems, a major IT company which develops, manufactures and sells high-tech products. Hamilton was part of a group who designed and printed a special grip for rifles to make the New York Safe Act Compliant. The same modeling strategies used to make the rifle grip were used to make Stumpy’s new leg.
“It’s done with software that you use for 3D modeling,” Hamilton explains. “It takes a little bit of math and a little bit of art to kind of sculpt it to get it right. And then a lot of trial and error.”
Stumpy is still getting used to his new leg. The next step is adding a silicon sleeve to prevent the piece from turning when he walks. In the meantime it’s rest, relaxation and lots of love from the McEvilly family, including their young children who play an active role in raising and taking care of the animals at Erin’s Acres.
“They’re a very docile breed.” Renee says, holding Stumpy in her arms. “The kids they fight over who’s going to hold him after his bath and who’s going to sing to him. And, they just kind of make their way into your heart.”
You can learn more about Erin’s Acres and Stumpy’s journey by following their Facebook page! Just search: The McEvilly Homestead at Erin’s Acres.