After the Rebellion, the animals managed to quite successfully run Animal Farm. Mr Jones' neighbouring farmers, Frederick and Pilkington were anxious to avoid their animals learning much about what had happened on Manor Farm. They believed that everything would be over within two weeks. When this did not happen, they started spreading pernicious rumours about the farm:
They put it about that the animals on the Manor Farm (they insisted on calling it the Manor Farm; they would not tolerate the name "Animal Farm") were perpetually fighting among themselves and were also rapidly starving to death. When time passed and the animals had evidently not starved to death, Frederick and Pilkington changed their tune and began to talk of the terrible wickedness that now flourished on Animal Farm. It was given out that the animals there practised cannibalism, tortured one another with red-hot horseshoes, and had their females in common. This was what came of rebelling against the laws of Nature, Frederick and Pilkington said.
Napoleon did not do anything specific at this time do dispel these bad rumours since it happened that other rumours about the animals running a farm successfully were spread all around the countryside, causing a wave of rebelliousness amongst animals on other farms.
Snowball and Napoleon did, however, send flocks of pigeons to neighbouring farms with the instruction that they should mingle with the other animals and tell them about the Rebellion and teach them the tune of Beasts of England.
Later in the novel, after Snowball had been expelled and Napoleon had gained sole control of the farm, he used deception to quash any notion that things were going badly at the farm. He had acquired the services of a solicitor in the meantime, a Mr Whymper, who would act as a go-between with the humans and would visit the farm every Monday. The pigs needed him to procure what was needed on the farm.
At this time, the humans still maintained a very negative attitude towards the farm.
The human beings did not hate Animal Farm any less now that it was prospering; indeed, they hated it more than ever. Every human being held it as an article of faith that the farm would go bankrupt sooner or later, and, above all, that the windmill would be a failure. They would meet in the public-houses and prove to one another by means of diagrams that the windmill was bound to fall down, or that if it did stand up, then that it would never work. And yet, against their will, they had developed a certain respect for the efficiency with which the animals were managing their own affairs.
After the collapse of the windmill and a bitterly cold winter, conditions were extremely harsh on the farm.
Once again it was being put about that all the animals were dying of famine and disease, and that they were continually fighting among themselves and had resorted to cannibalism and infanticide. Napoleon was well aware of the bad results that might follow if the real facts of the food situation were known, and he decided to make use of Mr. Whymper to spread a contrary impression.
Before, the animals had little or no contact with the human, but Napoleon asked a select number of them, mostly sheep, to make positive comments about the farm so that he could hear them. They would, for example, remark that rations had been increased. Furthermore,
Napoleon ordered the almost empty bins in the store-shed to be filled nearly to the brim with sand, which was then covered up with what remained of the grain and meal. On some suitable pretext Whymper was led through the store-shed and allowed to catch a glimpse of the bins. He was deceived, and continued to report to the outside world that there was no food shortage on Animal Farm.
This was a very clever ploy indeed. It was the general animal populace, however, that suffered mostly from food shortages on the farm. They were rationed whilst the pigs and Napoleon's nine dogs essentially received as much as they did before.