Mike the Headless Chicken Will Leave You Asking “What the Cluck?”

Mike, survived 18 headless months!

2 min
Sabrina Sieck
Sabrina Sieck
Mike the Headless Chicken Will Leave You Asking “What the Cluck?”
All stories

The Headless Chicken

The idiom “running around like a chicken with its head cut off” is commonly used, alluding to the fact that the body of a chicken whose head has been cut off often frantically flounders about before succumbing to its fate. Well, not all chickens can relate. Mike, survived 18 headless months!

Miracle Mike

On September 10, 1945, farmer Lloyd Olsen chopped off 5 1⁄2-month-old Mike’s head with an ax in readiness for the cooking pot. Believe it or not, the headless rooster continued pecking for food around his Fruita, Colorado, farm!

Olsen decided to spare Mike and, over the next 18 months, they toured the country.

Dubbed “Miracle Mike,” sideshow promoter Hope Wade insured the bird for $10,000 and charged 25 cents for a peek.

But How Was Mike Surviving?

Although most of his head was in a jar, part of his brain stem and one ear remained. Since the majority of a chicken’s reflexes are controlled by the brain stem, Mike was able to function relatively normally.

It is estimated that up to 80% of his brain by mass remained untouched. Due to this, the fact that he was able to continue functioning is much easier to explain than the fact that he didn’t bleed to death…

The Accident

Unfortunately, after a year and a half in the limelight, Mike’s life came to an end.

Mike was fed grain and water dropped directly into his esophagus with an eyedropper, but a syringe was also needed to clear his throat.

On that fateful evening, Mike began choking and Lloyd could not find the syringe used to clear his throat. Before Lloyd could come up with an alternative, Miracle Mike suffocated.

About The Author

Or Explore Our Categories

Have an Amazing Story?

At Ripley’s, we’re always in search of the unbelievable – maybe it’s you! Show us your talents. Tell us a strange story or a weird fact. Share your unbelievable art with us. Maybe even sell us something that could become a part of Ripley’s collection!

Have an Amazing Story?

Read More Ripley's

Get lost in a vortex of weird and wonderful stories! Ripley’s twenty-first edition annual book is full of all-new, all-true stories from around the world.

Dare to Discover book
Buy Now
Swirling Pinstripe backdrop
Ripley's Cartoon of the Day

June 21, 2024

Cartoon of the Day

A pangolin's tongue can reach up to 28 inches long.

Ripley's Cartoon of the Day

Robert Ripley began the Believe It or Not! cartoon in 1918. Today, Kieran Castaño is the eighth artist to continue the legacy of illustrating the world's longest-running syndicated cartoon!