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Defying Death: The Mind-Boggling True Story of a Headless Chicken that Survived for 18 Months

A headless chicken's remarkable survival and how it continues to inspire millions!

By Arthur FlowerPublished 21 days ago 3 min read
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Have you ever heard a story so incredible that it seemed too good to be true? Well, prepare to be amazed as we delve into the life of the most resilient chicken in history. We'll uncover the fascinating tale of Mike the Headless Chicken, who astonishingly lived for 18 months without a head. If you're intrigued, keep reading to discover how this seemingly impossible feat occurred and the bizarre, yet inspiring, legacy Mike left behind.

The Miraculous Day

September 10, 1945: On this fateful day, farmer Lloyd Olsen of Fruita, Colorado, went about his regular business, intending to prepare a chicken for dinner. Unbeknownst to him, one chicken would defy all odds and survive a seemingly fatal blow.

Olsen selected a young rooster named Mike from his flock and swiftly swung his axe, intending to decapitate the bird. While the majority of Mike's head was removed, a small portion remained, including the base of the brainstem and one ear. Astonishingly, Mike was able to continue living, despite his severe injury.

The Science Behind the Survival

How could a chicken possibly survive without a head? This baffling question piqued the interest of the scientific community.

The Brainstem: It turns out that the brainstem, which controls most basic bodily functions, was left intact after Olsen's botched beheading. This allowed Mike to continue breathing, maintain a heartbeat, and exhibit reflexive movements. Unlike humans, a significant portion of a chicken's brain, including the brainstem, is located in the back of the skull. When Mike was decapitated, the axe likely missed this crucial part of his brain, preserving his life functions.

The Clot: Another key factor in Mike's survival was a blood clot that formed at the wound site. This prevented Mike from bleeding out and allowed him to maintain his balance on his perch.

Life After Decapitation

Despite missing a head, Mike didn't let his disability stop him from living a full life. He was able to walk, perch on fences, and even attempt to preen his feathers. Olsen quickly realized the potential of this miraculous bird and decided to showcase Mike to the public.

The Sideshow Circuit: Mike's fame rapidly grew as he toured the United States, appearing at various sideshows and earning the nickname "Miracle Mike." People flocked from all around to witness the unbelievable sight of a headless chicken, alive and well.

Feeding Mike: Olsen nourished him with a diet of milk and water, which he administered via an eyedropper directly into Mike's esophagus. He also provided small grains of corn, ensuring Mike received the sustenance he needed. This diligent routine became the life-support system that sustained Mike for an impressive 18 months post-decapitation, securing his place in the annals of extraordinary animal stories.

Legacy and Impact

Sadly, Mike's incredible journey came to an end on March 17, 1947, when he choked on a kernel of corn. However, his remarkable story continues to captivate and inspire audiences to this day.

The Mike the Headless Chicken Festival: In honor of Mike's resilience, the town of Fruita, Colorado, hosts an annual "Mike the Headless Chicken Festival" that features various events, including a 5k run, live music, and chicken-themed activities.

The Symbol of Overcoming Adversity: Mike's story has become a symbol of overcoming adversity and defying the odds. His tenacious spirit reminds us that anything is possible, even when it seems like the chips are down.


This seemingly absurd tale forces us to question our assumptions about existence itself. What does it truly mean to live? Is life merely a matter of biological functions, or is it the spirit of resilience, the perseverance against unfathomable odds, that truly defines it?

Mike's story, in its bizarre glory, illuminates a profound truth: life clings tenaciously even in the face of unthinkable adversity. It reminds us of the incredible capacity of living beings to adapt, survive, and even thrive, despite overwhelming challenges.

In the grand theatre of existence, Mike stands as a symbol of unyielding resilience, a testament to life's extraordinary tenacity. He embodies a philosophical paradox that stirs our souls: the headless chicken that lived on, undeterred, unbroken, undying.

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About the Creator

Arthur Flower

Front End Dev 🖥️ | SEO Guru 🚀 | Passionate about coding, crafting pixel-perfect designs & boosting search rankings | Sharing insights, tips & creativity 🌟

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Comments (12)

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  • Heather N King16 days ago

    Wow, what an incredible and fascinating story you shared! Your writing style kept me engaged from start to finish, and I found myself in awe of the headless chicken's unbelievable survival. It's amazing how resilient and adaptable life can be, even in the most unexpected circumstances. Your article shed light on a truly unique and mind-boggling phenomenon, leaving me with a sense of wonder and a newfound appreciation for the wonders of nature. Thank you for sharing this uplifting and captivating story!

  • Mjawad Raza17 days ago

    amazing work please support me also and subscribe me I will subscribe you too

  • This was so fascinating! Congratulations on your Top Story!

  • ASHLEY SMITH18 days ago

    well told

  • Vasi Atanasova19 days ago

    I have seen such chickens as I child. I swear. Awesome story!

  • Very captivating story.nice work keep it up

  • Dana Crandell20 days ago

    This is awesome for me in a couple of ways. First of all, it's a great story and very well told. Second, a departed brother-in-law and good friend was born and grew up in Fruita and I've spent some time there, heard versions of the story, but had no idea about the festival! I'm going to have to put that on my bucket list. Thanks for a great read and congratulations!

  • Kendall Defoe20 days ago

    Now these are the kinds of stories I need to read! Thank you...and I am definitely a new sub!

  • Zack Graham20 days ago

    Cute read - I've always wondered about the origin of the myth. I went to college in Wyoming when I was younger, and drove through Fruita every year to head home for the holidays. Small world!

  • L.C. Schäfer20 days ago

    I remember reading about this years ago. One of the things that always stuck with me was that the chicken was called Mike 😁

  • KJ Aartila20 days ago

    A gross, but fascinating story - I like how you used the story to convey adaptability - it was well-written and unique - I have not ever heard of this story! Well done! :)

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