Yep Mike is quite real. He surived because most of his brain stem and left ear was left after his owner failed to fully chop his head off. He was show around in sideshows and roadside museums from 1945-1947. He eventually choked to death when his owner was feeding and watering him and couldn't get the obstruction out in time. His owner was quite disappointed because he had hoped to have made some money off him. Their is even a festival in his owner's home town that still celebrates the headless chicken. Here he is on wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_the_Headless_Chicken and on snopes. http://msgboard.snopes.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=74;t=000997;p=1
Hmm, apparently he was a Wyandotte of all things, I always thought he was Leghorn. As they say Real life is weirder than fiction.
The story of Mike is real. I actually grew up there near Fruita, Colorado and have attended the Mike the Headless chicken Festival myself. The farmer was spending the day butchering chickens and Mike somehow survived the catastrophic injury. They traveled across the country with him to show him off, until he died as a previous poster stated. While I realize that keeping him alive seems very cruel to some (and personally, I don't know if I would have let him live like that), I do believe from what I have heard that he was well taken care of and not suffering or in pain.