The story of Buttercup the Pekin duck does not have the best beginning. He was a school science project. But when he hatched, his left foot was bent backwards. He eventually ended up at Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary.
His problem foot became a challenge for Mike Garey, head of the sanctuary. His day job is running his own computer consulting firm and his idea was making a duck foot for butter cup using 3D printing. With the help of Novacopy 3D Printing Solutions in Memphis, he did. And before you could shake a tail feather, Buttercup was walking and swimming and acting like a duck for the first time in his young duck life.
In less than a week, the story of Buttercup went worldwide. It seems people just love Buttercup and his story. Garey says he has had people contact him all the way from Australia where dingoes need help.
"I think the awareness that we're raising for domestic flocks has been amazing. Donations would be great and that helps our little cause, but when you educate the public about all of this, that's a big deal," says Garey.
Melissa Ragsdale, President of Novacopy in Memphis, says she has heard from 24 countries to date. They have received requests for chicken feet, dog tails, even to make 3D fingers for a man. She says the Buttercup story has resulted in people wanting to understand how the 3D technology can be used.
"We have had a multitude of duck honorary duckmasters over the years, everyone from Oprah to Peter Frampton to Don King, and Larry King," said Peabody Hotel Duckmaster Anthony Petrina, who is a Buttercup fan. "We have had Daffy Duck here at the hotel, but never had an honorary duck."
That is, until Buttercup.
Garey says he has no idea how all this will end. Right now he is happy to be getting his message out about being responsible about getting domestic ducks and geese for children as pets. They are long term commitments and you can't just take them to an area lake and drop them off when the kids get tired of taking care of them. Domestic waterfowl do not fly and cannot survive in the wild.
As for Buttercup, he's just busy being a duck.
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