Mike the chicken belonged to Lloyd Olsen, a farmer in Fruita, Colorado. Beheading chickens one evening in preparation for a trip to market the next day, Lloyd noticed one of the flock didn’t behave quite as expected—namely, it continued to walk around after his would-be demise; Miracle Mike was born, or reborn as it was?
Did you know?
- Chickens have very little brain in the top of their heads. Their cerebellum and brain stem (responsible for most bodily functions) are located in the upper neck.
- Due to a lucky strike of the hatchet, Mike’s jugular wasn’t hit, and he was left with most of his brain stem and one ear intact.
- An incredibly fortunate blood clot in his neck meant that Mike didn’t bleed to death.
- After Mike survived a day, Lloyd learned to feed him with an eye-dropper, putting food and water straight into his esophagus.
- Mike’s throat was cleared of mucus and blockages with a syringe.
- Unsurprisingly, word of Miracle Mike got out. He made the papers, and then was invited to join the sideshow circuit.
- It is estimated that, at the height of his fame, Mike earned an incredible $4,500 per month ($48,300 in today’s dollars).
- Surpassing all expectations, Mike survived for an unbelievable 18 months after losing his head.
- Sadly, one night while on tour in 1947, Mike choked to death in a motel—the Olsens had forgotten the syringe that would have saved him at the sideshow.
- Miracle Mike’s legacy lives on in the annual Headless Chicken Festival in Fruita – celebrating one chicken’s amazing will to live.
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- Mike the Headless Chicken
- Mike the Headless Chicken Festival
- With Mike the Headless Chicken: Photos of a Famously Tough Fowl
- Miracle Mike: The headless chicken that lived for 18 months without a head