Planning a Chicken Dinner
The date was September 10, 1945...
Farmer Lloyd Olsen was an experienced axeman and chicken beheader, so when his wife, Clara needed a chicken to serve his mother-in-law he went out into the barnyard, selected his prized chicken from the coupe a juicy looking 5 1/2 month old rooster he named Mike.
He grabbed him by the throat, laid him onto the block and with an axe chopped poor Mike's head off. The chicken body ran away, the head fell to the ground. It became folklore that Mike picked up his head before he ran away and held it under his wing for days, the head died, but the body lived. I'm not too sure how reliable that info is.
Apparently, Lloyd left two much of Mike's neck, and much of the brain stem was still intact. Since chickens don't use the top of their head for higher brain functions the loss of the part of the brain, the cerebrum didn't kill it.
Poor Lloyd felt so bad, watching him pecking the ground with no head as if nothing had happened to him, he couldn't get up enough nerve to kill him a second time so let him live. He even found a way to feed him and keep his air ways clear. Infact, Mike became a celebrity. The Olsen's joined a circus and went on a cross-country tour and guess who was head-lining, you guessed it right, Mike! The main attraction pulling in a whopping $4,500 a month.
Unfortunately, hundreds of other chickens lost their lives, as Lloyd kept trying to replicate Mike because he new Mike wasn't going to last forever. He never could.
Mike the Headless Chicken Festival Now Serving Deep Fried Chicken
Mike's legacy lives on, a statue of him headless, stands proudly in the centre of his hometown of Fruita, Colorado. Mike the Headless Chicken Festival is held every year on the third weekend of May.
Example of a Headless Chicken