It was very difficult to keep enough fodder for the cattle in the winter. They had not much store of winter food, and they bruised gorse with mallets, in a stone trough, made of rough stones placed on end about a stone lying flat.
I have seen two men bruising gorse for the cattle many a time.
Sometimes, at the end of the winter, the cattle would be so weak that they could not rise up, and they would be covered with clothes to keep them warm.
The Fodder Jury could be summoned by the coroner to look after people who had cattle. If there were more cattle at a man (if a man had more) than he had food for three months for, the jury carried as many of the cattle as he had not food for and brought them to the town, and sold them at the Market Place by auction.
Then they paid for their labour and if they had any money over, they gave it to the man who owned the cattle. The reason of this was to keep them from stealing from their neighbours. Any man could make the coroner summon a Fodder Jury.
(source: Manx Reminiscences by Dr. John Clague (1911); photo)