The countryside was bright at the crack of dawn and the cluck-clucking of the yard's twenty chickens sounded welcoming. Henrietta, the now famous chicken, also lived in this small farm house in rural Franklin, Texas. She clucked with the best of them and was obviously a leg up above the others. The reason? Henrietta had a new artificial leg.
Henrietta the pet chicken received her $2,500 leg in a most unexpected way. "In our world, anything is possible, I suppose," said Farmer Oscar Wilkes as he squinted in the morning sun. "Yep, Henrietta needed a leg and it was heaven sent." Mrs. Lee chimed in. "I really didn't know my 3-D printer would come in this handy."
The research team was brought into the comfortable family room to examine the wondrous 3-D printer, where they also saw an obvious work table filled with rulers, a protractor, sketch pads and pencils. A plastic toolkit filled with an array of tools sat on the table. Mrs. Wilkes held up the tools so that the team could see close-hand the wrench, a Philips and a flathead screwdriver, a hammer and a saw and various parts for a tractor. All of these were made with the 3-D printer. There was also an easy-bake oven for their 9-year old daughter, Melissa. "I made my Christmas presents early," Mrs. Lee explains proudly, "but I didn't realize that I could print out a 3-D chicken leg." She added with a chuckle, "Of course, we won't be able to eat Henrietta's left drumstick."
When Henrietta started limping around the hen yard about three months ago, the family got concerned and took her to Dr. Hickles, the local vet. Dr. Hickles told the Wilkes family that in order to save Henrietta's life, they'll have to amputate and Henrietta would have to learn how to hop around. The Wilkes couldn't bear the thought of poor Henrietta hopping around on one leg and perhaps losing her momentum and status of Number One egg layer so Mrs. Lee came up with a plan. She got busy making a template of a chicken's leg and proceeded to print it out. The first leg was too short so she tried again. Each print-out took two hours since it was in 3-D (as well as expensive) so it was a nerve-racking experience for the entire family.
During their interview, Mrs. Wilkes served the team blueberry scones topped with delicate whipped cream and after they complemented her on her delicious baking, she giggled. "Isn't that the best you've ever tasted? I printed that out yesterday; yep, spent three hours on this and, here," she added as she handed them each a peach pie, "enjoy your peach pie, compliments of Mr. 3-D!"
After the team was done interviewing the family and as they prepared to leave, Mr. Wilkes lovingly watched Henrietta running around the hen yard carefree and happy. "Yep, what a miracle. Chicken legs, hah! What in tarnation will be next?"