Home History & Facts Bizarre: Chicken Lived for Months After Getting Beheaded

Bizarre: Chicken Lived for Months After Getting Beheaded

Sculpture of "Miracle Mike"

In the city of Fruita, Colorado, is a sculpture of a large chicken without a head, made in honour of the headless chicken called Mike.

Mike was an invincible gangster who became quite a celebrity. After getting his head cut off, Mike didn’t die. How?

Chickens are known for their ability to survive for some time even after their heads have been cut off. Typically, this is for some minutes. If you kill chickens frequently or know someone who does, chances are that you or that person would have experienced it or heard about it.

That said, here’s why “Miracle Mike” became a celebrity. Mike’s head was cut off in September 1945 but the chicken managed to live for a year and a half after his beheading!

Mike the headless

On 10th September 1945, Mike’s owner, a farmer by name of Lloyd Olsen, was sent by his wife to grab a chicken for supper. Olsen put an axe to the chicken’s head but he missed the jugular vein, leaving the vein intact along with part of the chicken’s brain stem.

The brain stem which lies just under the brain, controls the very basic functions like breathing and movement, which explains Mike’s ability to still live after losing his head.

Additionally, a crucial blood clot also prevented Mike from bleeding to death.

Olsen then decided to care for the headless chicken. They fed it milk, water and small grains using an eye drop. And it turned out to be some sort of a good decision.

At the crest of Mike’s fame, the headless chicken was on display, raking in more than $4,000 every month for his owner (over $48,000 today).


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