Mike The Headless Chicken —The Miraculous Chicken

The story of “Mike The Headless Chicken” has ended many decades ago but the citizens of Fruita, Colorado haven’t forgotten this Miraculous Chicken. Every year the people of Fruita host a festival in honor of The Headless Chicken, Mike. If you haven’t heard about it before then you should read this article till the end.

Mike was a Wyandotte chicken that was born on 20th April 1945. Five and a half month after its birth, on September 10, 1945 a farmer named as Lloyd Olsen from Fruita, Colorado planned to cook chicken for their dinner.

Oslen went to get the chicken and he chose “Mike” for the supper. He beheaded the chicken with an axe but the chicken denied dying. Oslen’s failed attempt made Mike a headless miraculous chicken.

Mike managed to live as the axe removed the front part of its head missing the Jugular vein. Mike’s one ear and the part of the brain remained intact in this incident. Instead of attempting the second hit, Oslen decided to take care of this poor chicken. He fed Mike using an eyedropper and also fed it grains and worms.

Mike remained alive for more than 17 months after that incident. Like every other chicken, it was able to balance and walk. It also attempted to pick grains but couldn’t succeed. He also tried “crowing” but it was more like a gurgling sound made in his throat.

Considering it as a miracle, many magazines and companies approached Oslen to feature Mike in their shows and stories. Dozens of companies photographed him to feature in their magazines. Mike was also put on a display for the general public against an admission fee of 25 cents.  

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How Mike The Chicken Survived Without A Head

Mike’s popularity helped Oslen earn US$4,500 per month. It was valued at $10,000 almost seven decades earlier. The miraculous chicken passed away on 17th March 1947 while on a stopover, coming back from a tour.

Oslen and his wife got awake by the sound of a bird choking. When they checked on Mike, they found that Mike was struggling with a kernel of corn in his throat. The chicken’s owner, Oslen thought of removing the kernel using a syringe but soon they realized that they had left the syringe at the sideshow, so they couldn’t save their golden chicken.

After Mike’s death, Oslen kept on telling people that he has sold the chicken to a guy in the sideshow circuit, but few years later he accepted that the chicken was dead. Furthermore, there isn’t any information about what Oslen did with the chicken after it died.

While talking about the chicken Dr Tom Smulders, a chicken expert at the Centre for Behavior and Evolution at Newcastle University said, “You’d be amazed how little brain there is in the front of the head of a chicken.” This was the reason why Mike denied dying even after losing its head.

Talking about the beheading of the chickens he further added that, beheading disconnects the body from the brain. But chickens keep on moving for a short period after beheading because of the residual oxygen in their spinal cord circuits. Without any command from the brain, these circuits start functioning.

He further added, “The neurons become active, the legs start moving.” Most of the time, chickens keep lying down until the neurons fire a motor programmed causing the chicken to run. Living for 18 months without having a head is indeed a miracle.

Last Words

This was all about the Golden chicken Mike that is remembered and honored by the people of Fruita even after several years of its demise.

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