pDo you sometimes feel like a headless chicken? You know what that means-running around blindly getting nowhere fast.
That common saying has its roots in fact. And fact is sometimes stranger than fiction.
Chickens have been known to have some life after head loss but Thursday a story about a headless chicken that lived a further 18 months is amazing, shocking, sad and grotesque.
According to the story it happened 70 years ago today in Colorado in the USA.
Before you dismiss the story as nonsense the decapitated bird became famous and was called 'Mike'.
It was September 10, 1945, when a farming couple, Lloyd Olsen and his wife Clara, were killing birds-Lloyd was the executioner chopping the birds' heads off and Clara faced the task of cleaning what was left.
But 'Mike' refused to give up the ghost and the Olsens decided to help him live
According to the family the headless chicken was "placed in an old apple box on the farm's screened porch for the night" and was still alive and kicking the following morning.
Although most of the chicken's head was in a jar, most of his brain stem and one ear was left on his body. Since most of a chicken's reflex actions are controlled by the brain stem Mike was able to remain quite healthy-Mike the headless chicken.
The rooster quickly became a legend in its own lifetime.
Taken up by a travelling sideshow its fame quickly spread.
Stories include university scientists removing the heads of many other chickens to see if any others survived; well it was 1945 / 1946. But even at that time 'Mike's popularity and that of his owners was not universal and one compared the Olsens to Nazis.
If you are wondering how the chicken was sustained the owners dropped liquid food and water straight into his oesophagus.
Tragedy struck, or was it a blessing, when the syringe used to clean mucus from his 'throat' was not to hand. Mike choked to death.
Mike survived the initial beheading when a blood clot formed and stopped the bird bleeding to death.
The lucky or unlucky cut depending on your point of view enabled life to continue.
For the Olsens, a poor farming family, Mike was a financial success at least in the short term.
You can read the full family story at;
Mike the headless chicken
The chicken that lived for 18 months without a head
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