Rooster wranglers ruffle feathers

December 15, 2009

By David Hayes

McNugget the rooster, the center of controversy in a dispute to move him to a warmer climate, gets some sun in the Staples parking lot last week. By David Hayes

McNugget the rooster, the center of controversy in a dispute to move him to a warmer climate, gets some sun in the Staples parking lot last week. By David Hayes

Issaquah icon McNugget the rooster became the center of controversy Dec. 8 and 9 when a group of concerned citizens were blocked from moving him to a warmer environment.

Kristen Parshall and her friend Debby Welsh, both of Fall City, became worried about McNugget’s welfare in the face of temperatures reaching overnight lows in the teens and below.

“Our biggest concern is the winters,” said Parshall, a former employee of Pasado’s Safe Haven. “He needs to be in a coop with a heat lamp.”

Their efforts were met by those who disagreed, saying McNugget had ample care at the Your Espresso stand and had survived just fine in previous winters.

“McNugget eats three times a day and gets fresh water provided as a second source of water intake,” barista Candice Mercado wrote in an e-mail. “McNugget uses the small creek mostly for all his drinking needs. He never leaves the property and if a rooster were unhappy, he would have left over five years ago.”

Parshall said Welsh called the nearby Issaquah Grange Supply the next day, this time asking for permission to remove McNugget.

McNugget escaped from the Grange years ago during a customer appreciation day event. Grange General Manager Gary Olson said McNugget was brought in as part of the petting zoo, but somehow got away.

The rooster later adopted the parking lot of the Staples store as its new home. Employees of the espresso stand in the lot adopted the rooster and gave him his name and a crate for shelter. Your Espresso owner Michelle Schneider said customers, baristas and local residents all provided feed for McNugget over the years, enough to give him three square meals a day.

About three years ago, Parshall, a regular customer of the espresso stand, provided a home upgrade to a doghouse and stopped by occasionally to feed him.

She and Welsh’s concern for McNugget peaked when the temperatures dropped to overnight lows of 10 degrees.

“It also looked like his comb was frost-bitten,” Welsh said. “I just felt so bad for him, standing there shivering while I was feeding him.”

Parshall said she later offered Schneider hundreds of dollars to purchase McNugget, but the offer was declined.

“I would leave them alone if they put up a proper coop with a heating lamp,” she added.

Schneider said that over the past weekend a couple of her employees had offered to take McNugget to their family’s farm, where they have chickens and a coop. But the offer proved unnecessary.

“I called both the Renton Animal Control and King County Animal Control,” Schneider said. “Both said to just leave the rooster alone. So, that’s what I’m going to do.”

She added that if animal control officials told her McNugget needed to be moved to a farm, she would have acted without hesitation.

Olson offered to provide a chicken coop hand-crafted by a Grange employee should a new home not be found for McNugget. Even so, Olson said a coop does not provide a surefire safehouse for the rooster.

“The reality is no chicken is absolutely safe in a coop,” he said. “Predators, like raccoons, have gotten into coops on my farm and killed chickens. So, it’s not a sure bet, but it is better, keeping him out of the wind.”

He said providing a coop is still not the end of the situation. Someone has to be committed to stay at the end of the day and lock McNugget safely inside the coop and again let him out in the morning. Those logistics have yet to be worked out.

David Hayes: 392-6434, ext. 237, Comment at

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13 Responses to “Rooster wranglers ruffle feathers”

  1. Ace on December 16th, 2009 10:31 am

    Glad to see both sides of the story published finally. :)

  2. Carol on December 16th, 2009 2:47 pm

    So glad to hear that the Grange is going to get him a coop, provide heat and that everyone is at least in agreement that McNugget is loved and deserves a better set up! McNugget thanks his “family” for protecting him and providing him with proper care…

  3. Debra Welsh on December 16th, 2009 3:18 pm

    It is nice to see Gary Olson say he would be better in a coop, to keep him out of the wind.

  4. kristin parshall on December 16th, 2009 4:05 pm

    This debate over wether chickens need coops or not is absurd. If they don’t need them, why do chicken coops even exist, and why does The Grange sell them?

  5. Mike Krutsinger on December 16th, 2009 4:44 pm

    Coop in the parking lot still leaves Mcnugget in a dangerous environment.

    He needs a real home.

  6. Brendan on December 16th, 2009 5:45 pm

    if this were a dog or a cat there would be no debate. This despite the fact that dogs and cats too can go “wild”. But because it’s a rooster, many people think he should be treated differently and that it’s ok for him to be outside in the elements.

    And of course KCAC says leave him there! They simply have no idea what to do with him (cant even keep cats and dogs now!) and are not trained at ALL to handle roosters. So it’s easier to just say, “let him be”.
    (And I know somewhat of that which I speak, I’m a graduate of the King County Animal Control Officers Academy AND the co-founder of a farm animal sanctuary.)

    MOST of the year, his being outside isn’t an issue. But during the cold winter months, NO animal willingly stays out in the elements if they have somewhere better to go. Which he doesn’t.
    If the Coffee shop personnel and other locals cared about him as much as they say they do, they would put up a shelter, on the tree at the base of the branch that he roosts at during the night and he’d at least then be able to be sheltered while still staying relatively safe.
    But I haven’t heard them suggest that yet… Or did I miss it?…

  7. Tansy Ragwort on December 16th, 2009 5:49 pm

    All those who think McNugget is happy living unprotected in the cold, wind and rain are cruel, mean-spirited people who care little for this rooster’s welfare. “If a (the) rooster were unhappy, he would have left over five years ago,” said barista Candice Mercado. That’s one of the stupidest comments made about this sad situation. Animals don’t decide whether they’re “happy” or “unhappy.” Many of the comments posted tell me those who object to this rooster having a better home are ignorant about how animals operate. I am so disappointed in all those who want to keep McNugget for their entertainment rather than giving him a warm, safe home. And to the woman who says you can’t build a safe chicken coop, you’re dumber than a bag of barber hair. It can be done!!!!!

  8. Rosetess on December 16th, 2009 6:34 pm

    Half of the waterways in WA state are unswimmable, unfishable or undrinkable. Is Rooster drinking clean water? No animal waste or pesticides in that “small stream” water? I won’t even speculate where all his poop goes. Everywhere? In the stream? I say that the people who want to care for him the most should take ownership. I understand that the employees of the businesses might want him to stick around, but life in a freezing cold parking lot is not much of a life for him. It’s only a matter of time, cars are in his habitat, or rather he is in theirs! Stop blocking these women from the rooster, let them put him in a safe place. It’s lie a bad Disney movie, Rooster forced to sleep alone in a doghouse at the edge of a parking lot. Once mean old rat/raccoon/cat finds him, well…too bad they won’t just let him go to the Farm.

  9. kristin parshall on December 16th, 2009 6:42 pm

    This goes out to DONI; You must stop spreading lies. McNugget does NOT have shelter. He does not use the dog house at night, you know it, everyone else knows it, so why do you keep saying this. And he shouldn’t use it at night anyway because it’s not safe. Are you trying to cover the fact that he spends his nights on a bare tree limb with no protection from windchill?? And I would love to know how those who calim to “care about him,” kept his water from freezing during those extremely cold days. When I was there on a 20 degree day he had NO water dish. That’s cruel! All birds, especially poultry, consume alot of water. To make sure they get enough in freezing temps, you would either have to refresh it constatntly throughout the day (which I doubt the espresso employee has time to do) or you would need a device that prevents water from freezing. I bet the Grange sells those too. Did someone put water out for him but just happen to pick it up before I got there??? If anyone considers this adequate care for an innocent creature, you’re guilty of animal cruelty!

  10. Jenny Fraley on December 16th, 2009 7:52 pm

    This rooster must be locked up in a warm, safe environment at night. He is lucky to have survived the elements and predators to date. Also, these are social animals and need companionship. The best thing for McNugget is to be removed and placed in a safe environment with other chickens. At the very least … a warm, secure coop.

  11. Alyne Fortgang on December 16th, 2009 8:31 pm

    Why is it so hard to be compassionate to animals? They suffer like us and they feel pain like us. I hope those opposing giving McNugget a warm home will set their emotions aside and do the unselfish thing: let him go.

  12. cecile guilbault on December 17th, 2009 6:28 am

    Oh come on, of course he needs a heated coop, and if he really does get fed three times a day, what is the problem locking him in at night? I guess if the people keep arguing about this long enough it will be spring, but that only means the poor thing has suffered through very cold weather ,while you are making money off of him.

  13. Debra Welsh on December 17th, 2009 12:33 pm

    If I were working somewhere and found a cat living in a dumpster and decided to feed him every day does this make him mine? If I claim his as mine, would I go home every night and not worry that he has to find whatever sleeping space he can or how he may come to harm? If I found out that someone else had been feeding him and decided to provide him with a real home, would I stop them just so I could continue to see him hanging around the dumpster. Of course not!