After out-growing a couple of drinks chillers and then a double-door commercial stainless chiller, I set about a solution to my needs given that I had limited space and needed to deal with well over 100 deer per year, including some rather large ones!
First step was to buy an old walk-in chiller box which cost me £280 but had no chiller unit. It wasn’t huge but fit neatly into the corner of my garage. The external dimensions are 1.8m long, 1.2m wide but only 2m tall ! The height was my biggest concern!
I managed to secure 50% funding from the East of England Wild Venison Project to purchase the Monoblock chiller unit, Stainless Trestle, Scales and an Elecric hoist. That got me up and running!
My next concern was that the unit would struggle to support the weight of several heavy deer.
My solution was to build an external frame over the chiller which could take the weight. I managed to get some 4”x2” Aluminium box section which was ideal (and free!). Next came the dilemma of how best to use the available hanging space. I decided that a ‘race-track’ shape design would be best and would also help to access particular animals. This would then be secured to the external frame through the roof. I looked at various rail systems and track runners but they all took up valuable vertical space. My solution was to secure the rail from below, thus keeping the actual hanging point as high as possible. I have a couple of friends who are pretty good with steel fabrication which helped!
So far so good, but I also had a problem with lifting large beasts on my own. Extending the external frame gave me somewhere to attach the hoist and lift, but I still had to somehow get the beast through the door and onto the hanging rail. I ran out of inspiration for a while and coped by wheeling large animals into the chiller on the tressle, but I could only really cope with one at a time.
(Note the chest spreaders which are standard plastic waste pipe cut at 45 dgree angles - very cheap and dishwashable!)
After much pondering, a removal slide-rail idea came along! Local friend was again tasked with the production of some rather snazzy slide hooks! The rail is supported by the
externalframe leg and slides out so that the door can be closed after use .
The ultimate test of the finished article came in the form of a 45 stone red stag which was still 300 lb larder weight! The clever bit here is to hang a larger animal by the pelvic bone and not the hocks which saves an awful lot of height required.
So there you have it! You don't necessarily need a huge game larder to deal with large deer.
Just a bit of thought and determination!