The headless chicken that lived for 18 months

Mike The Headless Chicken lived for eighteen months without a noggin after a farmer in an exceedingly failing try at slaughter, axed off his head, and missed the venous vein. Mike the headless chicken lived without a head for nearly 2 -years on a farm in Fruita, Colorado.

One September Tenth, 1945 farmer Lloyd Olsen slaughtered forty of his chickens by chopping off their heads. The following day one came back. The scientists theorized the farmer botched the slaughter leaving 80% of the brainstem intact. Meaning, Mike only lost a small piece of his brain that wasn’t responsible for the vital functions of his body.

For a brief period in the 1940s, the dead didn’t just walk, they also clucked-sort of. A customary chicken beheading at Lloyd Olsen’s farm became so much more. An incredibly unlikely Axe strike and a well-timed blood clot created an impossible chicken.

Named Miracle Mike, this fowl was lucky enough to live without a head for 18 months. A chicken’s brain stem is at the top of their neck. But one refused to die after a short run around he settled down as if nothing had happened. Mike survived the cut.

A convenient clot in the neck stopped the bleeding. Therefore, the family named him “Mike” and decided to take care of the freaky miracle and made him their pet. Mike even tried to peck for food. They fed him with an eyedropper directly into his esophagus.

Feeding Headless Mike with an eyedropper
Feeding Headless Mike with an eyedropper

Mike the headless chicken brought a lot of attention. In fact, the Olsen’s turned him into a sideshow act. They went on an eighteen-month international tour. Making over $4500 a month. Miracle Mike also featured in “Time” and “Life” magazine. Interestingly, Miracle Mike was estimated at $10000 by Lloyd.

Mike’s success had lethal consequences for his fellow chickens. Because other fame-hungry farmers tried to create their own headless chickens. None were successful. On March 17, 1947, almost two years after, he returned from the slaughter.

Mike the headless chicken choked to death in a hotel room and the miracle ended. This time he didn’t come back. Miracle Mike remained famous despite his death, people even dedicated songs and poems to him. Residents of Fruita erected a statue in the town to commemorate Mike. Today Mike’s town still celebrates the holiday Mike the Headless Chicken Day.

Statue in the town to commemorate headless Mike
Statue in the town to commemorate headless Mike

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