The live bird arrival section, also live bird receiving or handling area, is the first step in the poultry processing production cycle. Live birds are brought to the poultry processing plants in crates, which are generally transported by lorries or trucks. The crates are unloaded, the birds are taken out of the crates and are hung in the shackles of the killing and plucking line. Generally the crates are placed on roller tracks or conveyors for easy and quick transport. The empty live bird crates are washed and sanitized before they are returned to the trucks.
In higher capacity plants the live bird arrival area including crate handling, stacking and destacking of crates and even crate washing is (semi)automated. Machines are able to take over many tasks in this area. In countries with low wages or in plants with lower capacities per hour, it can still be economically feasible to carry out many of these tasks manually using line personnel. Hanging the birds is still done by hand, even in the highest capacity plants.
When the birds are placed in the shackles of the killing and plucking line, they enter the next phase of poultry processing.