I would not risk my life for an animal, no animal, no matter what. Because it's not just me and my life we're talking about. If I chose to die for an animal, I would also be leaving two kids without a mother. Two parents without a daughter. A woman without a sister. A husband without a wife. And all the relatives and friends whose lives I'm a part of. Your life affects a lot more people than just yourself. I would not do that to all those people just to save a chicken. I'm sorry, but when it comes to my kids and family, a chicken is just a chicken (or dog or cat) even if it's the best one in the world.
If it poses no serious risk to my life and health, I would absolutely go out of my way to save or help an animal, even if it's not mine. But I am not willing to take a real risk.
I may not be willing to risk my life for my chickens, but I have certainly rearranged my life around them, as I'm sure most of you have too.
I have to plan my days around their schedule, 7 days a week. I have to let the chickens out before going anywhere. I have given up going to places/events because I wouldn't be home in time to lock them in, or because there were eggs hatching, or a certain bird to keep an eye on. I have stayed up much of or all night at times for my chickens. I take separate vacations from DH, same reason. There are many times when I spend $ on my chickens instead of on myself. There are more examples I can't think of right now, but suffice to say, I do sacrifice quite a lot for them, just not my life.
For a chicken, not very far. I know to some their birds are pets or companions and I think that is awesome. But for me they are livestock. It doesn't mean I don't care for them and protect them and my heart is heavy on butcher day, but if its a choice between its life and mine, that's a no brainer.
As for any animal, I had a dog that was a part of the family. When she passed, a part of me went with her. A part that so far i have yet to be able to replace with our current dog (he's headed towards being a good dog but 1 yr old pups get into A LOT of trouble). I don't know if I would give my life for her but I would definitely not hesitate to put myself in harms way for her even though I know she would have died for me.
I've stood with a long wooden stick between my chickens and my neighbor's growling golden retriever. Had the dog got one of my chickens I would've open up a can of crazy on him. So, yes, I'm willing to put my life out there to some extent. It is my responsibility to keep them safe.
When I was a kid, I had three baby bunnies that escaped into the woods. There was giant rattlesnake eyeing them up the entire time i was trying to catch them. I didn't let that stop me from rescuing all three.
I've always put animals needs before my own. It's just in me to be this way I guess.
Twice there have been severe storms coming (very possible tornados), the sky was black and the wind was blowing. The first time I ran out (along with a few sisters) and we grabbed each and every chicken and put them in a large box in our basement (originally intended for the rooster, who had been sick, before we had a heat lamp) until the danger had passed. The second time there was only enough time to stuff them into the coop—but you can bet I was freaking out until the storm was past! Not nearly as heroic as some, but as heroic as I’ve gotten!