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Fruita Colorado Celebrates A Headless Chicken Every Year

Our Weird Traditions
Photo, Ed Chandler

Believe it or not, Fruita, Colo. celebrates a headless chicken every year. You have to see it to believe it.

No matter what town you visit, there is always a strange phenomenon they celebrate. Here in the Grand Valley, mainly Fruita, we celebrate a chicken named Mike. 

In 1945 in Fruita, Colorado is when the legend started. Lloyd Olsen went out that evening to bring back a chicken for dinner. While cutting the head off the chicken Mr. Olsen missed the jugular vein and noticed that Mike was still living.

Today is September 10th and the anniversary of a very strange occurrence indeed… this is the true story of 'Mike the Headless Chicken'. It was September, 1945. The Second World War had been won. The Great Depression was over. Americans could finally have a chicken in every pot. A Colorado farmer named Lloyd Olsen and outside to cut off Mike's head on September 10. Mike ran around like a chicken without a head, but he didn't die. There was apparently just enough brainy stemmy stuff left at the top of the neck to keep him going. ☆Mike lived for 18 months. His owner kept him alive by feeding him grain, one piece at a time, through the hole where his head used to be. He drank from an eye-dropper. Olsen got his headless chicken featured in Life Magazine, called him "Miracle Mike," and dispatched him on a tour of the country, charging people a quarter to take a peek. Sadly, Mike eventually choked to death on a kernel of corn in an Arizona motel room, far from home. — So think about 'Mike' next time you bite down on that crispy chicken. ….Bwwaaaaaaaaaaaakkkkk! #sept10 #strangebuttrue #1945 #miketheheadlesschicken #miketheheadlesschickenfestival #colorado #farmer #lloydolsen #theax #theaxe #theaxeman #offwithhishead #runningaround #likeachickenwithitsheadcutoff #chicken #theskyisfalling #donteatmeat #followme❤ #instead

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Once he realized that Mike the chicken wasn’t going to die he decided to take care of him. Granted he was walking around like a drunk person, he was still able to walk around a perch himself.

Everyone brushed off Mike like he was a myth but Mr. Olsen knew otherwise. It was his chicken after all. He took Mike to the University of Utah to show that Mike was still a living chicken. Just without his head.

Woah!! Thanks @pure_poultry for posting. So interesting! This is Mike the headless chicken, aka Miracle Mike. He was beheaded on Sept 10th 1945 in Fruita Colorado. It isn't uncommon for animals to move around for a few seconds after decapitation, but Mike decided to live without his head for a year and a half!!!! The farmer had accidentally missed the jugular vein and alot of the brain stem was still intact, somehow allowing Mike to survive and act normal. He was fed through his esophagus with a dropper and ground corn. He graced the pages of time and life magazine, visited universities, and did some circus shows until he choked on his dinner one night in Phoenix. Every year in Fruita CO, a Mike the headless chicken festival is held to celebrate this crazy phenomenon. . . PS – Meet My Chicken Monday Halloween addition / all birds allowed to play ends at 9pm EST! . . #miketheheadlesschicken #headlessmike #happyhalloween #miketheheadlesschickenfestival

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Mike’s fame grew from there and that is when they started to tour with companies that showed the weird and unusual. He grew so popular during his time that he was featured in Time and Life Magazines. At the top of Mikes success, Mr. Olsen took home $4,500 a month. Which now would be in the ballpark of $48,300 dollars.

Today is September 10th and the anniversary of a very strange occurrence indeed… this is the true story of 'Mike the Headless Chicken'. It was September, 1945. The Second World War had been won. The Great Depression was over. Americans could finally have a chicken in every pot. A Colorado farmer named Lloyd Olsen and outside to cut off Mike's head on September 10. Mike ran around like a chicken without a head, but he didn't die. There was apparently just enough brainy stemmy stuff left at the top of the neck to keep him going. ☆Mike lived for 18 months. His owner kept him alive by feeding him grain, one piece at a time, through the hole where his head used to be. He drank from an eye-dropper. Olsen got his headless chicken featured in Life Magazine, called him "Miracle Mike," and dispatched him on a tour of the country, charging people a quarter to take a peek. Sadly, Mike eventually choked to death on a kernel of corn in an Arizona motel room, far from home. — So think about 'Mike' next time you bite down on that crispy chicken. ….Bwwaaaaaaaaaaaakkkkk! #sept10 #strangebuttrue #1945 #miketheheadlesschicken #chickendinner #miketheheadlesschickenfestival #colorado #farmer #lloydolsen #theax #theaxe #chickenlicken #theaxeman #offwithhishead #runningaround #likeachickenwithitsheadcutoff #chicken #theskyisfalling #donteatmeat #followme❤ #instead

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The sideshow traveling would come to an end in 1947 while in Phoenix. Mike got a hold of a corn kernel and began to choke. Mr. Olsen accidentally left his feeding tubes and syringes at the sideshow the night before so they had no way to save Mike. People were hearing stories of Mike the Headless chicken still traveling until 1949 because Olsen himself claimed he sold Mike instead of sharing his death.

Today is September 10th and the anniversary of a very strange occurrence indeed… this is the true story of 'Mike the Headless Chicken'. It was September, 1945. The Second World War had been won. The Great Depression was over. Americans could finally have a chicken in every pot. A Colorado farmer named Lloyd Olsen and outside to cut off Mike's head on September 10. Mike ran around like a chicken without a head, but he didn't die. There was apparently just enough brainy stemmy stuff left at the top of the neck to keep him going. ☆Mike lived for 18 months. His owner kept him alive by feeding him grain, one piece at a time, through the hole where his head used to be. He drank from an eye-dropper. Olsen got his headless chicken featured in Life Magazine, called him "Miracle Mike," and dispatched him on a tour of the country, charging people a quarter to take a peek. Sadly, Mike eventually choked to death on a kernel of corn in an Arizona motel room, far from home. — So think about 'Mike' next time you bite down on that crispy chicken. ….Bwwaaaaaaaaaaaakkkkk! #sept10 #strangebuttrue #1945 #miketheheadlesschicken #chickendinner #miketheheadlesschickenfestival #colorado #farmer #lloydolsen #theax #theaxe #chickenlicken #theaxeman #offwithhishead #runningaround #likeachickenwithitsheadcutoff #chicken #theskyisfalling #donteatmeat #followme❤ #instead

A post shared by Johnny Mc. (@what_i_do_is_secret) on

In 1999 was when Mike the Headless Chicken Festival began. It is still celebrated every year in either May or June. This is an awesome festival that celebrated its 19th year.

Not only do they have a 5K run, they also have little games, wing eating contests, different booths and live music every year.

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