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Mike the Headless Chicken Lives for 18 Months

Getty Images, photo by freelancebloke

In September 1945, Life Magazine ran a story about ‘Mike the Headless Chicken’, also known as ‘Miracle Mike”. Lloyd Olson, the owner of the rooster, was sent out by his wife, Clara, to get a chicken for the evening meal.  He headed to the barnyard to behead a chicken wanting to leave plenty of neck because his Mother in Law enjoyed that part of the chicken.

It wasn’t unusual for Mr. Olson to behead a chicken for the evening meal; it’s what happened when he beheaded the chicken that was unusual. After Lloyd’s ax chopped the head off, the chicken staggered around like most do, but never fell. In fact, ‘Mike the Chicken’ lived for another 18 months without his head.

Mr. Olson’s aim wasn’t very good, it was determined by experts at the University of Utah at Salt Lake. Lloyd missed the jugular vein and a clot prevented Mike from bleeding to death. Most of Mike’s head was in a jar but most of his brain stem and one ear were left on his body.

Mike went on a national tour with people paying 25 cents to see the headless chicken and he lived a good life. In fact, he grew from a 2 and half pound chicken to nearly 8 pounds. One night while traveling and staying at a motel in Arizona, Mike began to choke. Unable to find the eyedropper used to clear Mike’s throat, Miracle Mike passed away.

Mike is remembered in Fruita, Colorado, as they celebrate a festival each year called Mikearitaville in homage to the wonder chicken Mike.

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