Topping refers to the building of the topmost part of the cock which narrows in at the apex. As the top is neared it is a skilled art to gently layer precisely hay to the top of the haycock. Gentle beating with pitchforks and use of rakes may be used to keep the top even and well combed down. It is possible to use a less well seasoned forkful of hay for the very top if required.
In the event of wind it may be necessary for one person to hold the top down with a pitchfork rake until the haycock can be secured with ropes.