The animals work hard but happily at the harvest. The pigs, the smartest animals, soon start directing the other animals' work. The pigs' cleverness and Boxer's immense strength and work ethic help solve all the problems the animals encounter in their work. Boxer even adopts the motto "I will work harder" in response to every problem. The harvest is the biggest the farm has ever seen.
The early days are idyllic. Animalism results in a successful harvest and happy animals. Yet already signs of class difference between the pigs and other animals have arisen based on their intellectual differences.
Everyone pitches in, each according to his or her own abilities. The animals have more food and leisure, and they enjoy being their own masters. Though Mollie does tend to disappear when there's work to be done, and Benjamin the donkey remains cynical, refusing to voice an opinion about the revolution.
Though most animals are happy, Mollie, the symbol of the materialistic middle class, isn't thrilled with the revolution. Benjamin, a skeptic, refuses to believe the good times will last.
On Sundays the animals don't work. Instead, they raise and salute their flag (a hoof and horn on a field of green) and hold a meeting to plan the next week. At the meeting, everyone is allowed to put forward resolutions and vote, but only the pigs ever come up with resolutions. Snowball and Napoleon are the most active debaters, but they almost never agree.
The meetings show Animalist equality, but the non-pigs don't use their equal rights. Instead, they let the pigs dominate. So it's not just that the pigs seize power, it's that the other animals let them.
Snowball soon starts setting up committees such as the Whiter Wool Committee to improve life on the farm. But only the reading and writing classes generate any interest. Soon Muriel and Benjamin can read as well as the pigs and dogs.
Snowball's committees show his commitment to Animalism, but also his political naiveté. Trotsky set up similar committees in the Soviet Union.
The sheep can't read or memorize the Seven Commandments. To help them, Snowball summarizes all of Animalism with the single phrase "Four legs good, two legs bad." Soon the sheep start bleating this phrase whenever they feel like it.
Snowball's slogan creates a breakdown in language—four legs are good and two legs are bad only if four legs follow Animalism and two legs don't.
Napoleon sees little value in Snowball's committees, but he says he believes in the importance of educating the young. When two dogs give birth, Napoleon trains their nine puppies in a secret place.
Animalism's followers trust each other because they're all animals. Napoleon exploits the animals' blind idealism in his rise to power.
The mystery of the missing milk is solved when the pigs declare that only they can use all apples and milk on the farm. The other animals grumble, but Squealer explains that the pigs are crucial to the running of the farm and need the milk and apples to stay healthy. If the pigs fail, Squealer says, Mr. Jones will return. The animals agree that the pigs should get the milk and apples.
The pigs begin to define themselves as a separate class deserving of special privileges, and use fear tactics and confusing language to convince the other animals the privileges are in the common interest. Even Snowball is willing to sacrifice Animalism for his own self-interest.