Headless Chicken (Lived Headless for 18 months)

Headless Chicken Photo

Headless Chicken (Lived Headless for 18 months)

After having its head removed, it continued trying to peck for food. In the end, it lived headless for 18 months.

Headless Chicken Beheading

On September 10, 1945, farmer Lloyd Olsen of Fruita, Colorado, United States, had his mother-in-law around for supper and was sent out to the yard by his wife to bring back a chicken. Olsen chose a five-and-a-half-month-old cockerel named Mike. The axe missed the jugular vein, leaving one ear and most of the brain stem intact.

Despite Olsen’s botched handiwork, Mike (Headless Chicken) was still able to balance on a perch and walk clumsily; he even attempted to preen and crow, although he could do neither. After the bird did not die, a surprised Mr. Olsen decided to continue to care permanently for this Headless Chicken, feeding him a mixture of milk and water via an eyedropper; he was also fed small grains of corn.

When used to his new and unusual center of mass, Mike the Headless Chicken could easily get himself to the highest perches without falling. His crowing, though, was less impressive and consisted of a gurgling sound made in his throat, leaving him unable to crow at dawn. Mike also spent his time preening and attempting to peck for food with his neck.

In March 1947, at a motel in Phoenix on a stopover while traveling back home from tour, Mike started choking in the middle of the night. As the Olsens had inadvertently left their feeding and cleaning syringes at the sideshow the day before, they were unable to save Mike. Lloyd Olsen claimed that he had sold the bird off, resulting in stories of Mike still touring the country as late as 1949. Other sources, including the Guinness Book of World Records, say that the chicken’s severed trachea could not take in enough air properly to be able to breathe; and therefore choked to death in the motel. Sorry to see the worlds most famous Headless Chicken depart this world, we’ll miss you Mike!

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