Whiskey Chicken Golf Cart
Miracle Mike was a Wyandotte chicken that lived for 18 months after his head had been cut off. Also known as “Mike the Headless Chicken,” he survived from April 20, 1945 through March 17, 1947. Mike’s road to fame began on September 10, 1945 when farmer Lloyd Olsen of Fruita, Colorado was sent to the yard by his wife to bring back a chicken for dinner. Lloyd used an axe, but due to faulty technique he missed the jugular vein, leaving Mike’s brain stem and one ear intact. Basic functions such as breathing and heart rate, as well as most of a chicken’s reflex actions are controlled by the brain stem, so Mike remained in reasonable health. As a result, Mike could balance on a perch and walk clumsily around the poultry yard. He tried to peck for food and crow, although his “crowing” consisted of an unpleasant gurgling sound deep in his throat.
Olsen decided to care for the bird until its natural demise, feeding it a mixture of milk and water via an eyedropper, and clearing the mucus from its throat with a syringe. Needless to say, Mike became a sensation, and toured sideshows in the company of other unusual creatures. He was photographed for dozens of magazines and papers, including Time and Life, and was valued at $10,000.00. The farmer generally charged 25 cents per person for a viewing of the headless chicken, and at the height of his popularity, Olsen earned $4500.00 per month. Mike died when he choked on a kernel of corn at a hotel in Phoenix, but he continues to be remembered on the annual “Mike the Headless Chicken Day.” Mike is celebrated on the third weekend in May in Fruita, Colorado with events such as the “5K Run Like a Headless Chicken Race,” egg toss, “Pin the Head on the Chicken,” the “Chicken Cluck-Off,” and “Chicken Bingo.” Last, Mike was an inspiration for the poultry-themed comedy punk band The Radioactive Chicken Heads, and was the subject of their 2008 song “Headless Mike.”
Other than the need to harvest chicken eggs or meat, chickens are not generally considered to be a threat or an object of wrath. However, in March 2018 a Fort Pierce, Florida man was arrested for allegedly blowing up a neighbor’s backyard in an attempt to kill his chickens. Scott Frederick Wegener, nicknamed “Spider,” was arrested after the police received an anonymous tip that he had detonated a homemade whiskey bottle bomb and was threatening to do it again. Wegener claimed that someone had stolen his BB gun, and reportedly offered a friend money to climb under the man’s home and plant a homemade explosive device.
Local police, the FBI and ATF conducted a search of Wegener’s home, but found no explosives. However, about a half mile from the Wegener residence, an individual reportedly saw Wegener detonate a device earlier in the week. Wegener reportedly pulled up to the house in a red golf cart and said he was going to kill all the chickens in the yard. He had a Canadian Mist bottle filled with black powder, sand and a green fuse; he reportedly lit the fuse and threw the bottle into the backyard, where the explosion left a 3-foot hole. Wegener left a 1-pound bag of explosive Pyrodex FFg black powder, 8 feet of “cannon fuse,” and a coffee cup filled with sand at this individual’s house. As a result, Wegener was charged by the Sheriff’s Office with possession or discharge of a destructive device and is being held at the Indian River County Jail with bail set at $30,000.00.
No injuries were reported due to the use of the homemade bomb, but ICD-10-CM codes for the employment of this destructive device may include:
X96.8XXA Assault by other specified explosive, initial encounter
Y92.017 Yard in a single-family house as place of occurrence of the external cause
There is no mention in the news stories about the fate of the chickens – did they survive the explosion? In ancient Rome, a roost of prophetic chickens were frequently consulted, and provided predictions that could be determined from their eating behavior. To disregard an unfavorable omen from the sacred chickens was to decidedly tempt fate! There is a big gap between revering chickens as oracles and throwing whiskey bottle bombs at them. Perhaps the backyard chickens had already predicted that when a red golf cart drives up to the house, it’s time to seek shelter from the coming explosion.