First ATLAS system down under


Easter saw the commissioning of ATLAS live bird handling and SmoothFlow controlled atmosphere stunning systems at Golden Cockerel’s Mount Cotton processing plant, part of a comprehensive revamp of the front end of the process.

Alan Wilson, Golden Cockerel’s CEO explains, “We wanted to be able to process more birds more efficiently in a shorter space of time. Our goal was, quite simply, to become as efficient as the best in our industry worldwide.” Alan Wilson continues, “At Golden Cockerel we have always worked hard to offer our customers products of consistently high quality. Ensuring that our birds arrive at the processing plant in top condition is a vital first step. Taking good care of our valuable livestock is a key management priority.”


The ATLAS installation at Golden Cockerel is the first in Australia. Alan Wilson comments on the system’s transport module, “We bring birds in from up to two hours away from our processing plant. For us, being able to use the module’s pallet as a fifth tier means that we can transport up to 20% more birds per load. In our hot Queensland climate it is particularly important that birds remain as comfortable as possible during transit. The design of the self- nesting trays makes loading easier, quicker and less stressful for the birds. We really appreciate the large fill opening and the unobstructed Airflo floor, which helps keep our birds well ventilated and relaxed even on the hottest of days.”


On arrival at the plant, birds rest up in a new lairage until ready for processing. Each module is then automatically de-stacked into its individual trays, which proceed in a straight line to the SmoothFlow controlled atmosphere stunning system. “This benefits our bottom line, as we save labor and get more ‘A’ grade product.” Alan Wilson continues, “We have increased our line speed to 13,000 birds per hour. The simplicity and robustness of the ATLAS in-plant system is impressive and I am convinced that this will give us hassle-free service for many years to come, even as we continue to expand. I would like to single out the ATLAS modular tray washer for particular praise. Its many nozzles are precisely aimed to get into every corner of each tray. We are now confident that we can always send properly cleaned empty modules back to our growers.”


The SmoothFlow controlled atmosphere stunning system, where birds are stunned in their trays, replaces an electrical stunner. Golden Cockerel chose the new technology for both quality and animal wellbeing reasons. Alan Wilson is happy with the results, “We now have hardly any blood spots and a lot less wing breakage. This benefits our bottom line, as we save labor and get more ‘A’ grade product.” In the precisely controlled five stage CAS SmoothFlow system, birds lapse gently into unconsciousness without stressful convulsions. Alan Wilson comments again, “Our customers and the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) people really like the system. We feel that with ATLAS and CAS SmoothFlow we now have the most well-being friendly systems currently available. Our hang-on staff like the new set-up, as hanging limp stunned birds is so much easier than having to deal with struggling flapping birds.”


A smooth switch to the new set-up would not have been possible without professional support from Marel Poultry. Alan Wilson states, “Marel Poultry has been supportive throughout, a true partner. When issues have arisen, they have been dealt with promptly. It is good to know that Marel Poultry offers so much back-up both locally and from the Netherlands. This makes us feel really confident for the continuing expansion of our business”.


Golden Cockerel was founded in 1972 and is jointly owned by two families, active in the poultry industry for three generations. The Company, based at Mount Cotton near Brisbane in Australia, is fully vertically integrated with its own feed mills, hatcheries, parent stock and broiler growing farms, processing plant and distribution network. Golden Cockerel processes some 650,000 broilers per week into fresh and frozen whole bird, cut-up, boneless and raw value added products. Value added products include kebabs, nibbles and drumsticks. The company supplies nationwide supermarket and take-away food chains, specialist poultry shops and butchers. It also exports to the Pacific region.


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