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Is a Headless Chicken Stupid?

mike-4.jpgIf you ever need confirmation of the stupidity of the human race, the place to  look is at the search queries people use. For a while I was jealous of Kim’s “lifespan of a pickled egg,” but I then got my own really stupid query last week: life span of headless chicken. Once again, I could feel superior in the stupidity department.  

Until I investigated. If you click on the search link above, you’ll find that my blog is second on the list; number one is a link to www.thelongestlistofthelongeststuffatthelongest So of course, I clicked on the link. Who wouldn’t? 

This is the go-to place for information about longest stuff, like the longest female beard ever (Way to go, Vivian!), the longest parasite (Kudos to Sally Mae Wallace!), or the world’s longest dog tongue (Good girl, Brandy!). It’s at this very informative site that I discovered that my stupid search query might not be so stupid after all.

As it turns out, the longest life span of a headless chicken is eighteen months.

In Fruita, Colorado, on September 10 1945, farmer Lloyd Olsen was sent out to kill a chicken for dinner. His mother-in-law loved to eat the neck, so Mr. Olsen tried to chop off as little of the neck as possible. With a swing of his axe, off came the head. The chicken, now known as ‘Mike the Headless Chicken’, started to run around as chickens do, but never stopped.

And when Mike did finally keel over, it was, by all accounts, an untimely death.

Mike finally died in 1947, after living for 18 months. He started choking in the middle of the night, and since the Olsen’s left the syringes they used to clear his esophagus at the sideshow, they could not save him.

Who knows how long Mike might have lived were it not for the unfortunate choking incident, although some might say he was already living on borrowed time.

Mike the Headless Chicken has a song written for him. You can listen to it sung or you can just read the lyrics. I suggest the latter option.

The Cluck Stops Here: The Ballad of Mike the Headless Chicken

©2006, Julianne Mangin, Carol E. Rand

Mike the headless
Mike the headless
Mike the headless chicken! (2x)

He was just another nameless chicken
Scratching in his barnyard pen
Nothing much to live for
Just some food, and a little hen
He didn’t know what a hatchet was
Or what a skillet was for
But one false whack of the farmer’s axe
Made him a metaphor

Mike the headless chicken
Mike the headless chicken
Mike the headless chicken
Mike the headless chicken*
(*leave off the last word, in the final chorus)

Mike the headless chicken
Lost his head but found his fame
Mike the headless chicken
That’s why he got a name
He was headed for the kitchen
When fortune made its strike
How could they cook a chicken
As remarkable as Mike?


Even folks from far away
Knew the chicken who survived
Mike traveled the sideshow circuit
In 1945
Kept alive by an eyedropper
Food and water down his gullet
He even gained a couple of pounds
Now that’s a healthy pullet


Eighteen months without a head
Was enough for Miracle Mike
He didn’t even get a headstone
I can’t imagine why
He lived and died in the forties
Times were different then
Yet now we have celebrities
With no more brains than him

CHORUS (last)

The song may be stupid; I’m guessing the headless chicken was stupid. But apparently the query wasn’t.

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Reader Comments (4)

*shaking my head*

That is unbelievable!!

and too funny!!

Almost makes you want to get an ax and give it a try

May 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterIslandsparrow

I would never be short of things to blog about if I had a headless chicken - think of all the photo opps!

May 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterIslandsparrow

Almost makes you want to get an ax and give it a try

This is a place even my twisted humour didn't go. I am now your biggest fan. :)

May 11, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterrebecca

never would have believed it if I hadn't read it. Oh my.

May 13, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterannette

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