Colorado was once home to a living headless chicken

Mike the Headless Chicken
Mike the Headless Chicken lived for 18 months.

I couldn’t help investigating a headline in today’s Denver Post:Colorado’s Mike the Headless Chicken throws hat in the ring for president.” It wasn’t the “president” part that got me. After all, all kinds of strange individuals take a run at the presidency. But a “headless chicken”? What was that about?

The story dates back to 1945, but I’d never heard it before today. It seems a farmer in Fruita, Colo., took an axe to the chicken that was to be dinner that night. And while he succeeded in decapitating the bird, the bird remained oblivious and wandered off to preen as though nothing had happened.

Scientists at the University of Utah determined that the axe blade had missed Mike’s jugular vein and a clot had kept him from bleeding to death. The majority of his brain stem was left on his body, and that in turn controlled most of his reflex actions. He lived for 18 months, with his owner feeding him through his neck opening with an eyedropper.

Mike has his own website and is still celebrated every year in Fruita during the third week of May. This may actually top Frozen Dead Guy Days on my list of strange goings on in Colorado.

9 comments

  1. Mike could well be a serious contender for GOP Congress-person down here in SW Missouri. I’m sure he could compete with our present man for legislative output. Based on my admittedly faulty memory, that consists of advocating for a national auctioneer’s day of recognition. And, I hate to tell you this, but <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Long"Mike is even better looking. 😀

    1. I know one should never judge another just on personal appearance, but Billy Long looks like the poster child for “I wouldn’t trust that man any farther than I could throw him.”

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