How long can a chicken survive without its head?

The answer will leave the squeamish running around like headless chickens.

25th July 2018
How long can a chicken survive without its head? © Getty

Asked by: Kanika Ahuja, Winchester

In the 1940s in the US, a chicken called Mike lived for 18 months without a head. He had been almost completely beheaded with an axe, but crucially the jugular vein and most of the brainstem were left intact. This left just enough brain function for essential functions, like breathing, and Mike was fed with an eyedropper through the stump of his neck.

In Thailand, in March this year, a similar case was reported, and the strong-stomached can even watch a video of the headless chicken online. But for more normal, complete beheadings, a chicken will die of blood loss in a matter of minutes.

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