Man saves chicken through mouth-to-beak resuscitation |

Man saves chicken through mouth-to-beak resuscitation

COLLBRAN ” First there was Mike the Headless Chicken, a rooster that survived for 18 months after having its head lopped off with an ax.

Now, Western Colorado has a new chicken survival story, this one involving a man who claims he saved his fowl by giving it mouth-to-beak resuscitation.

Uegene Safken says one of his chickens in his young flock had gotten into a tub of water in the yard last week and appeared to have died.

Safken said he swung the chicken by the feet in his attempt to revive it and when that failed, continued swinging and blowing into its beak.

“Then one eye opened. I thought it was an involuntary response,” Safken said. The chicken’s beak opened a little wider and Safken started yelling at it: “You’re too young to die!

“Every time I’d yell at him, he’d chirp,” Safken said.

His signficant other, Denise Safford, thought the chicken was dead until it began chirping.

Birds have a different respiratory system than mammals, which make them difficult to revive, said Grand Junction veterinarian Paul G.

Bingham. Birds breathe though a bellows system that has air sacs, leading Bingham to conclude the bird was unconscious.

Swinging the bird and shaking it ” not blowing into the animal’s beak ” probably had more to do with the bird coming around, Bingham theorizes.

About 50 miles west of Collbran, residents in Fruita each year celebrate the life of Mike the Headless Chicken, who survived a beheading in 1945. Afterward, Mike could go throught the motions of pecking for food, and when he tried to crow, a gurgle came out. His owner put feed and water directly into Mike’s gullet with an eyedropper.

University of Utah scientists examined the chicken and theorized Mike had enough of a brain stem left to live headless.

He was a popular attraction until he choked to death on a corn kernel in an Arizona motel.

On the Net: Mike’s story is on the Web at

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