Headless Chicken Mike, also nicknamed Miracle Mike (April 1945 - March 1947), is a small Wyandotte cock, famous for having lived 18 months after his head was almost completely chopped off.
On September 10, 1945, farmer Lloyd Olsen from Fruta, Colorado, USA, went to the yard (at the request of his wife) to select a chicken for dinner. Olsen chose a 5, 5-month-old cock named Mike. The ax missed the jugular vein on impact, leaving one ear and most of the brain stem intact. After the decapitation, Mike did not move for a while, but then got up and walked as if nothing had happened. Mike's head was almost completely chopped off, but the first night after the beheading, Mike spent sleeping on a perch and hiding his neck under a wing. They fed him from a pipette, and sucked out the liquid with a syringe, since he could not do it on his own.
Mike was able to balance on a perch and walk awkwardly; he even tried to peel feathers and crow, although he could not succeed in either. Despite the unusual new center of gravity, Mike could easily hold onto the high pole without falling. His scream, however, was less impressive and consisted only of a gurgling sound in his throat. Mike also tried to peel and peck at food. In addition, Mike's weight continued to grow: Olsen said that at the time of the beheading, Mike weighed about 2.5 pounds, while at the time of his death he was almost 8 pounds.
Mike was put on public display for a twenty-five cents fee. At its peak, the chicken brought in $ 4, 500 a month ($ 48, 000 in 2010 prices) and was valued at $ 10, 000. A pickled chicken head was often displayed next to Mike, passing over his head, but in fact, his head was eaten by a cat. Olsen's success led to a wave of beheadings of chickens in hopes of a repeat of this, but no other beheaded chickens survived for more than a day or two.
It was determined that the ax did not hit the carotid artery, so Mike did not die from the bleeding. Although part of his head was severed, most of the brain stem and one ear remained on the body. Since the main functions (breathing, pulse, etc.), as well as most of the reflex actions are controlled by the brain stem, Mike remained alive. This case is a good example of the fact that many functions of the nervous system can be performed even in the absence of the cerebral cortex.
Mike The Headless Chicken is a kind of "symbol" of Fruit, Colorado, and there is an annual "Mike - Headless Chicken Day" - the third weekend in May since 1999. Activities on this day include egg throwing and many other original games.