If someone is running round like a headless chicken or rushing around like a headless chicken, they are panicking when they should be thinking carefully about what needs to be done. This is of course a figuratively expression.
However for one unfortunate, or fortunate. chicken this saying had a literal meaning.
On 10 September 1945 Lloyd Olsen and his wife Clara were killing chickens, on their farm in Fruita, Colorado. Olsen would decapitate the birds, his wife would clean them up. But one of the 40 or 50 animals that went under Olsen’s hatchet that day didn’t behave like the rest. The chicken became to be known as ‘Mike’
The axe removed the bulk of the head, but missed the jugular vein, leaving one ear and most of the brain stem intact.
Due to Olsen’s failed attempt to behead Mike, the chicken was still able to balance on a perch…
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