Cattle-breedingCategory: 06th century
Besides arable-farming, the Anglo-Saxons continued their old occupations of cattle-breeding, hunting and fishing. Oxen, sheep and goats belonging to the villagers grazed on the common pastures, and poultry (hens, geese, ducks) would feed there also. Pigs were turned into the woodland to feed on nuts and acorns.
The animals were much smaller than those of today, and they did not weigh as much. They lived by grazing during the summer, and after the harvest they were allowed to roam over the arable land also. But in winter they could get little from the common pasture (nothing at all when it was covered with snow). The Anglo-Saxons had no root- crops and the only fodder in winter was hay, which was obtained from the meadow during the summer.
The crop of hay was divided among the villagers. As a rule there was not very much hay and it was not easy to keep the animals alive and healthy throughout the winter. In autumn the Anglo-Saxons had to kill most of their animals and salt the meat.