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The Headless Rooster from Fruita

By Barbara Sisney Daniel

Fruita, Colorado is a small, western town close to Grand Junction, Colorado. Fruita is famous for a plucky rooster that lost his head on the chopping block.

A farmer and his wife were killing chickens to take to market. One of the roosters made this couple famous when he dodged the ax. He lost most of his head and took off running instead of flopping around. The little rooster survived, and made the farmer more money than if he had ended up in the frying pan.

The farmer named the rooster Mike, known as headless Mike. Mike was born in 1945 and lived without his head for over two years. The farmer didn’t have the heart to kill Mike. He rigged up a hose to fit in Mike’s neck, and he fed him through the tube. Mike still had a small part of his head, and, being of healthy body and fed good food, he grew and put on weight. The farmer carried a syringe to clear out Mike’s windpipe.

The rooster grew and was able to run around on his own, scratching in the dirt, preening himself, and faking a crow.

Mr. Olsen, the farmer, realizing he was sitting on a money maker and needing new farm machinery, started thinking how he could make a living with his miracle chicken. He made arrangements to take him on the road as a traveling headless rooster. Thousands of people came to see the headless miracle Mike.

The farmer made enough showing his rooster to buy new farm machinery and a new truck.

Mike made Fruita, Colorado, famous on the map and inspired a sculpture to Mike. The sculpture stands at an intersection in the town. Immortalized in a metal sculpture, made from pieces of old farm tools.

Mike stands proudly forever being the small town with the story of a fowl deed. And the headless rooster.