The effects of two different feeding regimes on the 24 h profiles of maternal and fetal plasma cortisol and adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) concentrations were studied in eight pregnant ewes between 123 and 144 days of gestation. Once daily-fed ewes (n = 4) received 1 kg of lucerne-chaff at 11.00 h, and multi-fed ewes (n = 4) received 100-200 g of lucerne-chaff at 09.00, 11.00 and 13.00 h and then 150 g until 09.00 h the following day. There were significant differences between the two feeding groups in the 24 h profile of maternal plasma osmolality; once daily feeding at 11.00 h was associated with a peak in maternal plasma osmolality at 15.00 h whereas maternal plasma osmolality reached plateau levels at around 17.00 h in the multi-fed group. There were also differences between the two feeding groups in the 24 h profiles of maternal and fetal plasma glucose. Maternal and fetal plasma glucose reached peak concentrations at 19.00 h in the once daily-fed ewes in contrast to the multi-fed group, where a plateau in maternal and fetal plasma glucose was reached between 19.00 h and 09.00 h the following day. A significant diurnal variation in the plasma concentrations of cortisol was present in the once daily-fed ewes from 123 days gestation and in their fetuses after, but not before, 135 days gestation. Plasma cortisol peaked at 11.00 h in the ewes and at 13.00 h in the fetuses of this group. In the once daily-fed group there was also a significant diurnal variation in maternal and fetal plasma ACTH; plasma ACTH concentrations were highest at 11.00 h in the ewes aged between 123 and 144 days and in fetuses after 135 days gestation. In the multi-fed group, whilst ACTH was highest at 09.00 h in the ewes and at 13.00 h in the fetuses, there was no significant diurnal variation in the plasma concentrations of cortisol in the ewes or fetuses of this group at any stage between 123 and 144 days gestation.