As Polish crested roosters, Stephen and King are not the type of chickens you’ll find on today’s factory farms; their journey, however, is just as harrowing. Transported through the mail when they were just days old, Stephen and his friends were cast aside as objects rather than the living, feeling individuals we know them to be. Unfortunately, even “backyard” birds raised in hobby flocks come from the same hatcheries as conventionally raised chickens, and endure the same rough handling and neglect as their brothers who are typically raised for food. Additionally, most backyard hobbyists are only able to house hens due to zoning laws, so the males—who are either mistaken for females or included as “packing material” to keep the girls safe–are often destroyed when their new owners cannot keep them. Even in municipalities that do permit roosters, “owners” frequently abandon their birds after receiving noise complaints from neighbors. At some point, Stephen’s owner realized he could not keep him, so he left Stephen, King, and four of their friends inside a cardboard box at our Southern California Shelter. Stephen remains inseparable from King to this day, and the two delight shelter visitors with their “rock star” hairdos and even bigger personalities! It is a joy to watch these brothers navigate life side by side—no longer valued solely for their appearance but beloved as the magnificent individuals they are finally free to be.