The Saga of Miracle Mike, the Headless Chicken…

Warning: this post may not be suitable for some of our more sensitive viewers. Well, you’ve already seen the headless chicken photo, so what remains are the gory details…

In September of 1945, a farmer who lived in Fruita, Colorado by the name of Lloyd Olsen who raised chickens was killing large numbers of them to take to town for market, and using a hatchet for the fowl task. Most of the chickens obligingly died as expected, although chickens beheaded will sometimes kick and run about for several minutes before succumbing. One chicken, however, had his jugular spared and retained most of his brain stem, and was able to develop a blood clot to prevent bleeding out, and so remained ambulatory. The brain stem which remained controlled his breathing, digestion, and heart rate. The fowl also retained an ear. After his decapitation, the headless chicken got up, and began to strut around the farm.

The farmer took this curiosity and kept it in an apple box overnight, the next morning describing that “The damn thing was still alive.” The event then took on a life of its own, so to speak. As the rooster survived, Olsen let him continue to roam around. He would sleep with his neck stub tucked under his feathers, tried to peck for food with his neck stub, and even gained weight due to the chicken being fed milk and water directly into his esophagus with a dropper. He could even so digest small pieces of corn…

Recognizing how unique a living headless chicken was, his owner made a cash cow out of him, taking him on the road where he became a sideshow sensation, and earning 25 cents per head (so to speak) for people to gawk at him. At the height of his fame, Mike made his owners $4,500 per month...not exactly chicken feed, in the 1940’s.

Sadly while on road tour in Phoenix, Arizona his owners awoke to the sounds of Mike choking. As they had to suction mucus from his throat throughout the day, they would usually keep a syringe nearby, but had forgotten this equipment at a previous sideshow event. Mike couldn’t dislodge the mucus himself, and so suffocated in March of 1947, about 18 months after his decapitation. From the sideshow profits, however, his owners were able to buy a horse, mule, hay baler, two tractors, and a Chevrolet pickup truck.

A statue of Mike was erected, and Mike the Headless Chicken was awarded his own special festival day, celebrated annually in Fruita, Colorado with a chicken lunch, an egg toss, a chicken dance, a race, and even chicken bingo, which is chosen by chicken droppings that land on a bingo board! Mike would have liked that. Only in America…is this a great country, or what?!

Explore posts in the same categories: animal oddities, bizarre, feathered friends, furry, Questionably creepy, strange happenings, weird


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2 Comments on “The Saga of Miracle Mike, the Headless Chicken…”

  1. carycomic Says:

    I can see it now. Syfy Channel and Roger Corman present:

    “The Headless Chicken of Sleepy Hollow vs. the Gizzard of Oz.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • vulpesffb Says:

      Oh…my…God, where do you come up with them?! Now I’ve got images of beloved characters in my head singing, “We’re Off to See The Gizzard!” 🙀

      Liked by 1 person

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