We held them as little chicks. We read to them at story time. The kids put them through chicken school, created houses and whole race courses for them. They came in the house, then went out of the house. As they got older, the kids collected their eggs, and they still loved being held. Honestly, what haven't we done with these chickens?
Last week we buried one. It wasn't the first. Fact is, even with the fence it's nearly impossible to protect them. Hawks get 'em. Owls get 'em. Coyotes dig under the fence. Bobcats climb over it. How can you protect a couple dozen chickens from a hungry wilderness? You can't.
But you can give thanks for life. These kids carried shovels half a mile to bury this little hen in a sacred little spot in Bone Canyon. You can't do that with a person. As soon as someone dies, they are taken away. Sometimes, the funerary rites of pets and animals are all we have to connect us with the unvarnished truth. What child doesn't want that?