In mid August of 2009, I answered an ad placed in BYC's BST section. There was a member in California with some chickens looking to be re-homed. What started with one adorable little DUccle hen ended with 6 chickens coming home with me. One of those chickens was Sylvia. I did not pick her, she chose me. I recall walking around the chicken run which seemed close to 2 acres. Everywhere I went, this Silver Laced Cochin hen followed. When I stopped, she would come around front of me and stand by my toes. If I looked down at her, she looked up at me. Pick another chicken the BYC member encouraged me by that time I was up to 3 bantams the DUccle plus 2 bantam cochins, a Splash Orpington Rooster and an EE who had had crop surgery (https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=21291 ). Not sure who to pick, I finally said looks like it will be this girl who has been following us. That is Sylvia she said. I reached down and scooped Sylvia up. All the birds adjusted really well. We got use to each other while they were in quarantine and once out, they blended smoothly with the existing flock. Thru the last few years, I have hatched a few of Sylvias eggs. Her crosses with the Splash Orpington Versace always produced cockerels, so I did not hatch many of her eggs. In the fall of 2010, we finished a smaller coop for my Bantam RIR Rooster Woodstock. Sylvia was one of the hens who made the move into Woodstocks coop. With her Cochin friend Blondie, Sylvia hatched a few clutches of adopted eggs in Woodstocks coop. Start of this winter I noticed Sylvia was having some difficulties with her molt. It was dragging out, Sylvia would come out eat and then retreat back to Woodstocks heat lamp (Woodstock cannot tolerate temperatures less than 20 degrees during the day, much less the single digits we get at night). Sunday, I heard Sylvia squeak as she was breathing. I asked her if she had swallowed some feed wrong as that was the same type of sound. She seemed fine and spent the day scratching around in their run. Monday when I let the birds out, Sylvia did not come out. In the coop she was huddled under the heat lamp and struggling mightily to breathe. I picked her up and brought her inside, she was thinner than she had been a week ago. Enticed her to eat with treats and watched her settle in trying to breathe. Thru this week, her appetite picked up and she was drinking water normally. Her struggle to breathe was still there, but not so severe. I suspected either edema in her lungs or possibly her heart, or even both. Noticed her struggle seemed the worse when she was exhaling. Never any nasal discharge or any sign of an illness that was treatable. Her abdomen was not distended or swollen. This morning at 2:30am I was awoken by scratching sounds against a kennel. At first, I thought it might be one of the dogs needing to go out and trying to gently tell me. As I rushed down the stairs, I realized it was a chicken. I made it to Sylvias side just as she finally passed away. I was able to hold and comfort her to the best of my abilities. My sweet girl with a gentle soul, who picked me has passed. I shall bury her today in the Apple Orchard. Two others from her original California flock are already buried there. I am not 100% sure how old she was. I know Chloe, the crop surgery bird, will be 5 this spring, and Versace the splash Orpington Rooster will be 4. I am guessing Sylvia would have been 4 or 5 this spring. Rest well my sweet, sweet girl. May the bridge bring you to a place filled with green grass, juicy bugs, fantastic sunning areas, deep cool shade, wonderful dust bathing spots and all of your friends. I shall look for you when it is my time to join you.