Tips&TricksThe mystery and legacy of Colorado's freakish survivor, a headless chicken Mike.

The mystery and legacy of Colorado's freakish survivor, a headless chicken Mike.

The hens are pecking the grass.
The hens are pecking the grass.
Images source: © Facebook, Freepik | @ volody10, Rocky Mountain PBS

10:48 AM EST, January 17, 2024

Despite the surreal nature of this phenomenon, it has indeed been documented and confirmed credible. The American magazine "Time", which possesses long-standing reliability, included detailed reports about Mike's story. It's an intriguing tale worth delving into since it is unparalleled.

Mike Spurs Worldwide Interest

The puzzling saga commenced when Lloyd Olsen, a farmer in Fruita, was preparing for his mother-in-law's visit. His wife, Clara, decided to cook chicken necks, a favorite dish of her mother. Consequently, Lloyd headed off to his yard to procure a few chickens, one of which turned out to be Mike. Following the decapitation, Mike was seen flapping his wings and beginning to walk around. The sight of a decapitated chicken still showing signs of life alarmed and amused Olsen. When he found Mike alive the following morning, his surprise knew no bounds.

A couple of days later, Mike was still evidently standing upright, prompting Lloyd to consult scientists. Renowned Dr. J. Edward Malone from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City was the first professional to examine Mike. According to Malone's observation, although the chicken had been beheaded, there was still a portion of the brain stem attached to the neck, combined with a clot which prevented fatal blood loss.

When the news media got wind of Mike's case, the headless chicken became an instant sensation. To keep the miracle chicken alive, which no longer had a beak, it was fed with a concoction of water, milk, and corn kernels poured directly into his esophagus. Eventually, Mike even gained weight, earning the reputation of a state symbol for Colorado.

Lloyd Seizes Mike's Fame

Lloyd decided to capitalize on Mike's sudden fame and paraded the chicken around some of the biggest cities in North America, including New York, Atlantic City, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Mike's valuation climbed to an impressive $10,000 (equivalent to about $140,000 today), was insured for the same amount, and a viewing fee of 25 cents was imposed.

With the substantial earnings, Lloyd was able to purchase a hay press and two tractors, essentially modernizing his farming practices. He also bought a pickup truck with the remainder of the money. Lloyd faced accusations of profiting from Mike’s predicament, but he defended himself by saying that he didn't believe that Mike was suffering and that the chicken even had experiences that would have been impossible in his ordinary farm life.

Mike tragically succumbed when he choked on mucus, 18 months after his beheading. In memory of his extraordinary existence, a statue of a headless chicken weighing over 220 pounds was erected in his honor. Mike's remarkable story continues to draw visitors to the town of Fruita.

Rooster in the village.
Rooster in the village.© Freepik | freepik
Related content