A chicken from the Ratchaburi Province in central Thailand has been hailed as a “true warrior” for surviving more than a week after being decapitated. It has now been adopted by monks who are feeding it by pumping food into its throat with a syringe.
The headless chicken first made news headlines earlier this week, after photos and videos of it went viral on Thai social media, but no one actually expected it to survive so long without a head. Facebook user Noppong Thitthammo was the first to share the story of the resilient bird, along with photos showing the mangled remains of its neck. He wrote that a vet in the Mueang Ratchaburi district of Ratchaburi Province had been caring for it, feeding it by dropping food down its neck and giving it antibiotics to prevent the infection of its wounds.
“The animal has its life. If it wants to live, we feed it,” Supakadee Arun Thong, the vet who had adopted the headless bird, told Thai reporters.
Nobody seems to know how the chicken lost its head, although many suspect it must have been attacked by an animal predator. Regardless of the circumstances in which it lost its head, everyone agrees that the decapitation should have proved fatal, but the bird refuses to die. And not only is it still alive, but it can also stand and walk around aimlessly.
At first, most people thought that the whole thing was a hoax, and that the photos of the headless chicken had been photoshopped, but then a video of it started doing the rounds online, and western news outlets started picking up the story as well.
Believe it or not, this is not the first time chicken to survive without a head. Mike the headless chicken was also a media sensation between 1945 and 1947, surviving a whopping 18 months. He too was believed to be a hoax, until his owner took him to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City for confirmation.
These rare cases of survival are apparently linked to their unique anatomy. The chickens’ brain is located in their skull at an angle, so if they are beheaded to high up the neck, the rear part of the brain, which controls automatic functions like breathing, can remain intact. So if the jugular somehow doesn’t rupture, causing the bird to eventually bleed to death, the bird can apparently survive even without a head.
After seeing that the headless chicken in her care didn’t feel like dying anytime soon, Supakadee Arun Thong started wondering what would come of it.
“Who will take him and care for him? He will need lifelong care. I have to admit that this chicken is a true warrior with a very tough heart,” she told reporters.
Luckily, monks at a temple in Ratchaburi Province were more than happy to adopt the headless chicken and are reportedly feeding it food and water by pumping them down its throat with a syringe.