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High School Students Make Brave Little Chicken 'New Feet' After She Lost Them to Frostbite

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When Rachel Diepstra found her beloved chicken, Debbie Harry, frozen to the ground in Grand Rapids, Michigan, things weren’t looking great for the bird.

Even after Diepstra tried to warm Debbie up, the chicken ended up losing her feet to frostbite.

Soon, Diepstra reached out on social media to see if anyone would be able to help make Debbie feet with a 3D printer. She had heard of people printing out feet for a duck and a rooster before, and she hoped someone could help Debbie, too.

Her post reached the students at the West Michigan Aviation Academy. With their teacher, they decided to take on the project of making Debbie her new feet.

“You can’t go on a website and go, ‘Hey, let’s print this off.’ Some of that stuff you think of as a school project or an easy A. You can’t do that,” 11th-grader James Brouckman said.

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“We went in and took a couple preliminary measurements with calipers and then we were like, we’re going to 3-D print it with the things we have here at the school.”

The students worked with a design software to create 3D models and soon printed them out to be tested.



Their engineering teacher, Andrew Abissi, explained how this semester-long project helped the students learn about both design and biomedical engineering, along with learning about the trial and error process.

The students ended up designing over 20 different sets of feet for Debbie. They started with the idea of big chicken feet and then went for a design similar to a sled. After their many attempts, they finally found a pair that worked.

While it took Debbie a little while to get used to her new feet, they helped her with some physical therapy to get used to them. Diepstra was really grateful for all the hard work done by the students.

“I think we’ll use (the prosthetics) mostly for winter when it’s cold and to help her roost at night. They like to be up off the ground at night,” she said.



Debbie has gotten used to moving both with and without the feet.  She can now move like she never lost her feet in the first place.

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“Really, she runs around the yard just like this. Like no problem, she can full-out sprint,” Diepstra said.

Thanks to the generosity of the students at WMAA, Debbie can now move like a chicken once more.

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Allison Kofol is an editorial intern for The Western Journal. She is a student at Grove City College and will receive her Bachelor's Degree in Communication next year.
Allison Kofol is an editorial intern for The Western Journal. She is a student at Grove City College and will receive her Bachelor's Degree in Communication next year. In her spare time, she sings, writes music, crochets, and eats Chick-fil-A. She also loves to spend time at a local jail, where she leads Bible studies with incarcerated women.
Location
Grove City, PA
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Film Theory




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