Over a million children and dependents were still in the city when the ring closed. In all there were 3.3 million mouths to feed. Quite soon the bread ration had to be halved. By mid-November 1941 manual workers received 250 grams a day, the rest only half of that. But the bread had been adulterated with pine shavings. So people were existing (or failing to) on 400, even 300 calories.
During the first year of the siege, the city survived five food reductions: two reductions in September 1941, one in October, and two reductions in November. The latter reduced the daily food consumption to 250 grams daily for manual workers and 125 grams for other civilians. Reports of cannibalism began to appear in the winter of 1941–1942, after all birds, rats and pets were eaten by survivors and meat patties, made from minced human flesh went on sale in the ‘Haymarket’ in November 1941. Many bodies brought to cemeteries in the city were missing parts. Starvation-level food rationing was eased by new vegetable gardens that covered most open ground in the city by 1942.