For sheer pace, Moy Park's Coolhill factory is hard to beat. Every week over 500,000 chickens are received, slaughtered, processed and shipped out again. About half of them end up on supermarket shelves. The rest are transported to the company's nearby Craigavon factory, where they are processed into oven-ready meals.
Each morning general manager Ian Mairs sends a team of catchers and loaders round the farms to gather in that day's supply. The birds are hung upside-down from hooks on a conveyor, electrically stunned, and carried to the rotating blades at a rate of 120 a minute. The conveyor passes them over a blood draining bath, through an automatic plucker, on to three successive eviscerating machines, and through to grading and weighing. The process is designed to wring every penny of revenue out of each bird. Northern Ireland is not the most obvious location for a business 50% of whose output is bought - fresh not frozen - by consumers on the UK mainland. Freight costs £25 a pallet, Mairs points out.