Mike was actually a rooster, a Wyandotte rooster to be precise. Mike would have been a silly name for a chicken, so I thought I would clear this up lest you would be disinclined to believe this story. After all, who would believe a story about a chicken named Mike - (although I have often wondered where they get chicken balls from in Chinese restaurants)?
This story began in 1945, in Fruita Colorado, when farmer Lloyd Olsen acting upon instructions from his wife, selected a plump bird to eat for supper. It was off to the chopping block for poor old Mike. Lloyd skillfully chopped the poor bird's head off, and watched as Mike fluttered about as most freshly beheaded poultry tend to do.
Mike was quite the fighter and continued to flutter about for a long time. He eventually decided to calm down and put this unpleasant episode behind him and just continue on living as a decapitated animal. Lloyd found him the next morning sleeping beside his head. Well, how could anyone kill an animal that had accepted his fate with such equinamity?
Mike was taken to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and examined by scientists. Apparently most of Mike's brain stem had been left attached to the body, and thus he was left with his motor skills. A fortuitous blood clot had formed at exactly the right time to prevent the bird from bleeding to death. From then on, Lloyd devoted a lot of his time to feeding Mike grain and water through an eye dropper and went on tour with the bird all around America. He became quite the side-show attraction, earning quite a bit of money for the Olsens. This rooster lived for 18 months without a head, and only passed on due to an unfortunate incident revolving around a misplaced eye dropper in a motel in Arizona.
Apparently Mike lived a pretty happy life, strutting around and scrabbling in the dirt as normal roosters do. He didn't really seem to miss his head all that much at all. A recent telephone conversation that I had with a local mortgage broker brought the story of Mike the headless chicken to the forefront of my mind. This broker also seems to be able to lead a perfectly normal and happy life and does quite well without the aid of a functioning brain. I think science is able to explain this phenomenon.
LIFE magazine has a few pictures of Mike in case you're thinking that this was some sort of hoax foisted upon a naive American public in 1945. Such freakishly odd things can happen every once in a while.