What happened at the Battle of the Cowshed in the book Animal Farm?

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Battle of the Cowshed is the first action of the animals against the humans.  They act on it spontaneously after Old Major's brilliant inspirational speech and after learning the song about the Beasts of England.  The humans are pushed out, the animals act bravely (except for Mollie who hides during the battle and later goes to work for the humans in return for ribbons and sugar), and the pigs take over the operations of the farm.  This battle is the most successful of the battles against the humans...while it is not premeditated, it is executed well as they have the element of surprise.  Very few injuries/deaths occur for the animals in this altercation. 

Check the links below for further information on this battle and state of the minds of the animals afterward.


William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Wikipedia contains a detailed discussion of Orwell's Animal Farm. The following is an authoritative quote from that article:

The Battle of the Cowshed represents the allied invasion of the Soviet Russia in 1918, and the defeat of the White Russians in the Russian Civil War.

Following Germany's defeat in World War I, the victorious allies made an attempt to defeat the Bolsheviks who had taken over the Russian government, but they were repulsed. This is represented allegorically by Orwell as the "Battle of the Cowshed" in which the humans try to retake the farm from the animals.

The article on "Animal Farm" in Wikipedia offers a thorough explanation  of every aspect of Orwell's book plus much additional background information.

shandrew25 | Student

As another person was saying...

You can find this described in Chapter 4.

The people come on to the farm to try to drive the animals off.

The animals start off with small attacks. First pigeons and geese, then sheep and Benjamin the donkey. Then Snowball gives an order and they all retreat.

At that, the men think they are winning and they charge. When the men are well inside the yard, the big animals -- horses, cows and pigs -- come out of ambush and surround and attack them. Snowball, for example, attacks Jones and (even though he gets shot a bit) butts Jones into a dungheap.

The men get kicked and bitten and such until the see a way out and run away.

erickmoreno1 | Student

it was the second action against the humans as they won at the end when boxer knocked out a farmer and the others thought he killed the farmer

bryan-leow | Student

Mr Jones led the other farmers from Foxwood and Pichfield in the animal farm in hope of reclaiming it back after losing the farm in the Rebellion. They brought weapons like sticks and guns. However, the animals had long planned for this battle and were already well prepared. Led by Snowball, they unleashed a series of attacks - first was a flock of 35-strong pigeons and some geese to distract the humans. Next, all the 'common animals' like sheeps and Benjamin etc attacked and fake retreated. In their excitement, the humans split up and rushed towards the farm. That was when the horses and cows and pigs lashed out. Eventually they won the battle, and it was named the Battle of Cowshed.

amy-2014 | Student

THEY ARE ALL WRONG!!! The battle of cowshed is THE VERY FIRST BATTLE, where they are hungry and tired of exploxion, making them open the food storage.  Jones comes and tries to take them out, but the animals fight and gain their freedom.  They win.  That's when they start to check out their new territory, and when the pigs (especially Napoleon and Snowball) take charge by setting the rules and characteristics of "Animalism" through the seven commandments.

The other one where the men come back is the Battle of the Windmill.

wetdogs34 | Student

fight for the farm.

amne | Student

Mr Jones returns with his men and some people he gathered from a pub and returned to Manor Farm believing that he could take it back. The animals had already planned this so were able to win, with Snowball leading it.

foshka | Student

mr jones attack the farm with other farmers

but snowball read a book about julis caesar's campaigns which he had found in the farmhouse he uses it to charge of tye defensive operations

the battle occured and boxer killed a human having no imtention, all the men were shacking in fear and ran and the animals celebrited thier victory

the animals decided unanimously to create military decorations ' animal hero first class' which consisted of boxer and snow ball and animal hero second class which consisted of the dead sheep.

popan006 | Student

farmer jones and the animals fight for manor farm. The animals win.

kwimac | Student

Mr Jones led the other farmers from Foxwood and Pichfield in the animal farm to reclaim it back. However, the animals had long planned for this and were already well prepared. Led by snowball, They eventually won the battle and as it took place at the cowshed, it was named the Battle of Cowshed.

orangeorange | Student

When Mr Jones and the other farmers (Foxwood and Pinchfield ) tried to take back Animal Farm and reclaim it from the animals. Although The farmers lose and go back to their normal doings. The animals in the end won.