Polly the Pekin duck can eat like a duck and quack like a duck – but her partially missing bill prevents her from preening — grooming her feathers — like a duck.

To help, Southwestern University Professor Dr. Laura Hobgood is working with university students to create a carefully customized 3D-printed bill that will naturally fit Polly’s unique needs.

Polly was brought to All Things Wild Rehabilitation in Georgetown, Texas, with a severely damaged bill — most likely caused by another animal, according to staff at the center.

She’s “adapted beautifully” at the rehabilitation center – waddling her way into the hearts of all who meet her, and “quacking away all day” – especially when people try to talk over her, Jessica Green, one of Polly’s caretakers told KVUE News.

But due to the limited size of her broken beak, Polly cannot effectively preen – an important part of any duck’s life. Some birds spend as much as 25% of their waking hours preening their feathers.

To preen, ducks rub along their preen glands to oil their beaks. They then spread that oil with their beaks to waterproof and moisturize their feathers. Preening also helps protect them against parasites.

The new bill should allow Polly to partake in this important instinctive behavior.

While the 3D-printed bill is still a few weeks from perfection, the student team is making headway toward their one-of-a-kind duck prosthetic.

In the meantime, Polly is loving her life at All Things Wild. Because Polly is a domesticated duck and now dependent on people, Polly’s caretakers plan for her to continue living at the rehab center after her bill is complete. This special duck will eventually join the team as an animal ambassador.

“She loves people, she’s happy all the time, she does not want to be away from us,” Amanda Reynolds, the assistant manager at All Things Wild, told KXAN News.

Lady Freethinker applauds All Things Wild Rehabilitation for their excellent care of Polly and the Southwestern University team their groundbreaking work to provide Polly with the perfect replacement beak.