The animals now face into a brutal winter. Corn is scarce, and the farm’s stock of potatoes has been destroyed by frost. By January, they are threatened with starvation. The pigs conceal this fact from the outside world by filling the store-bins full of sand, topping the bins with what few provisions they have left, and allowing their human middleman to walk past the apparently full bins. However, they must obtain food from the outside world somehow.
At a Sunday meeting, Squealer announces that the hens must give up their eggs, so that they can be traded with the outside world for grain and meal. The hens are stunned into rebellion. They take to laying their eggs from the rafters of the coop, allowing them to smash to the ground. The pigs respond by stopping their rations completely, and threatening death on any other animals that shares their food with them. Eventually the hens relent, and they are forced to give up their eggs as soon as they are laid.
All the while, the pigs spread terrible rumours about Snowball. Snowball is said to be hiding on one of the neighbouring farms. He is said to be sneaking into Animal farm by night and doing untold damage. Every mishap and misfortune on the farm was now attributed to Snowball. Napoleon makes a show of doing a major tour of the farm, accompanied by his dogs, to investigate the activities of Snowball. This goes on for some weeks, when the dramatic announcement is made that Snowball was in league with Jones from the very start. Squealer tells the animals that this terrible discovery has been made from documents that the pigs have just discovered. The animals are shocked and puzzled by this. Boxer, in particular, is reluctant to accept this. He questions Squealer; he reminds him how bravely Snowball fought when the farmers tried to invade Animal Farm. Squealer tries to reassure him, but Boxer remains persistent in his belief that Snowball could never have been in league with Jones. Squealer eventually convinces Boxer by telling him that Napoleon has stated categorically that Snowball was an agent of Jones. Boxer finally relents at this, assuming that Napoleon must be correct. Boxer’s persistence in questioning Squealer, however, has been noted.
An assembly of all the animals in the yard is now called. Napoleon, who now rarely leaves the farmhouse, and is never without his escort of dogs, stands before them. At a signal, the dogs charge into the crowd and drag four of the more troublesome pigs before Napoleon. At the same time, three of the dogs attach Boxer. Boxer easily fends them off. The miserable pigs are forced to confess to having been in league with Snowball, and are murdered on the spot by the dogs. Other animals come forward to confess various crimes against the farm, and each in turn is slaughtered.
These are the first killings of other animals since the rebellion. The animals creep away from the meeting. Boxer, in trying to understand why this has happened, resolves that the only possible solution is to work harder. Clover, not as strong but more intelligent, has deep misgivings about what she has seen, but she cannot put them into words. She remains faithful to Napoleon, but deep down she knows that this state of affairs was not what they fought for in the rebellion. The animals try to console them by singing Beasts of England. However, they are interrupted by Squealer, who tells them that the song is henceforth abolished. It is to be replaced a song called Animal Farm, composed by one of the pigs. The animals take up the new song faithfully, but are aware that it does not compare to Beasts of England.