Birds use their beaks for numerous causes, from grooming and consuming to climbing and preventing. Max, a good-looking 20-year-old macaw now residing within the Hyacinth Haven Hen Sanctuary in Plettenburg Bay, South Africa, bought right into a combat with one other macaw shortly after he arrived, and his beak was badly broken within the scuffle. Sadly, his troubles didn’t finish there, however now, due to the wonders of expertise, Max is sporting a brand new 3D printed prosthetic beak, fabricated from titanium and pretty much like the beak Gigi the macaw obtained in 2016.
Max got here to the hen sanctuary, owned by British hen lover Trevor Glover, in 2017, when his unique proprietor moved overseas. As the brand new hen on the block, he attacked one other macaw on the sanctuary, and within the combat, his beak was severely broken.
“He was aggressive in direction of the rescued birds and, throughout hormone season on the finish of 2017, he attacked a macaw that retaliated by biting his prime beak and cracking the left facet from prime to backside,” Glover defined.
Max was then moved to a transition aviary on the sanctuary with one other macaw nursing an injured beak. Every thing was okay for about three weeks, after which feathers flew once more.
“…I put him in a separate aviary with one other macaw who had a broken beak however they bought right into a combat in the course of the hormone season over a feminine and Max’s weakened beak was ripped off,” Glover mentioned.
“He needed to go onto mushy meals with no extra seeds or nuts to eat and wasn’t too completely happy and was losing a few pounds and I didn’t understand how he would get on with out with the ability to eat or defend himself.
“Then I noticed a documentary about South African animals with prosthetic limbs like an elephant and a zebra and a baboon so I believed maybe it could be potential to make him a brand new beak.”
The method of getting Max a brand new 3D printed beak was simpler mentioned than completed, nonetheless, and was held up, like nearly every part else on the planet, by the COVID-19 pandemic. However ultimately, the group serving to Max was in a position to get again to enterprise. Molds have been fabricated from the macaw’s stump, and this summer season, Max tried out a nylon prototype prosthetic beak earlier than the ultimate titanium one was scheduled to be connected in late 2021.
The surgical procedure—believed to be the primary of its form in South Africa—was lastly performed at Dr. Brendan Tindall’s Robberg Veterinary Clinic in Plettenberg Bay, in collaboration with Bloemfontein’s Central College of Expertise and business companions. Dr. Tindall, a wildlife vet, administered the anesthesia, and the entire operation was led by Professor Gerhard Steenkamp, a maxillofacial surgeon on the Onderstepoort Veterinary Tutorial Hospital (OVAH) on the College of Pretoria.
Assisted by specialist prosthodontist Professor Cules van Heerden, Professor Steenkamp connected the purposeful 3D printed titanium prosthetic to the top of Max’s beak stump utilizing particular excessive power screws in a profitable surgical procedure that lasted simply over an hour.
Professor Steenkamp mentioned, “Max is doing effectively, and no problems have been seen with the beak to this point.
“I’m completely happy to have been a part of the group that has given Max a second probability in life and wish to thank our business companions.”
The very subsequent day, Glover reported that Max was consuming stable meals for the primary time in two years with the 3D printed beak, which will certainly assist him achieve again a few of his misplaced weight.
Glover mentioned, “That is fairly a change from consuming solely mushy meals for years.”
“It’s wonderful what will be achieved with 3D printing.”
One other exercise Max enjoys along with his titanium beak is bending the bars of his cage, which is outwardly fairly loud.
“When folks hear the noise his titanium beak makes on the bars they’re a bit of nervous of him,” Glover mentioned.
“I wouldn’t need to get a peck from that beak!”
Max has returned house to the sanctuary, and now resides in a particular aviary constructed only for him by his devoted proprietor.
“Max has been given a brand new lease of life and has gone again to comparatively regular behaviour – consuming, flying and climbing as he did earlier than the harm,” Glover mentioned. “My heartfelt due to all.”
(Photos courtesy of Hyacinth Haven Hen Sanctuary)