On a cold night in the fall of 1945, Lloyd Olsen, a farmer from Fruita, Colorado headed out to the shed for the first step in preparing a delicious chicken dinner – chopping the head off of Mike the Chicken. A lifelong farmer, Olsen was a seasoned pro but this time he cut it a little too close. While the chicken most certainly lost his head, a tiny portion of his brain stem was left intact in the base of his neck. To Farmer Olsen’s amazement, the chicken was still very much alive and he did not have the heart to finish the job. When Olsen found the bird alive in the morning, the legend of Mike the Headless Chicken was born.
Mike the Headless Chicken lived for a full 18 months without his head, able to “eat” food through the hole in his neck. He had impeccable balance and could even fly, but his rooster crow was more of a gurgle than a cock-a-doodle doo.
Mike went on tour across the country as a side-show act and was examined at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City and confirmed to be legitimate.
The headless bird finally died in March of 1947 when he choked late one winter evening. We suspect that farmer Olsen got drunk and shared a flask of whiskey with Mike to celebrate their new-found wealth.