Why Colorado Celebrates Headless Chickens

May 18 2009, 12:08 PM

Back in September of 1945, farmer Lloyd Olson was going about his usual business, cutting the head off a Wyandotte rooster. Strangely, the bird survived without a head, living until March of 1947, becoming an oddity in Colorado farm lore and eventually spawning a festival at the source of the incident, in the tiny town of Fruita. The rooster was dubbed Mike, and over the weekend Fruita residents invited gawkers of all ages to celebrate the "Mike the Headless Chicken Festival," as The Los Angeles Times reports, noting that back in the day, headless Mike was a wonder because he would preen. How did Mike live so long? His brain stem remained attached to his spinal cord, and his throat and windpipe still worked, allowing old Lloyd to get water and ground grain into Mike's gut. Although it's not clear if Mike and the festival are big in Japan, calls for radio interviews this year came from as far away as Venezuela and England, says Ture Nycum, Fruita's recreation director (via the Grand Junction Sentinel), who adds that the theme of the festival was, strangely, '70s disco. Check out photos of headless Mike, farmer Lloyd, people in chicken hats, and an egg race.

Tags: