Two-year old Alpine she-goats (n = 3) and Texel ewes (n = 3) were compared as to eating behaviour, rumination and volatile fatty acids (VFA) in rumen and blood. The animals were fed once daily with two different proportions (20 and 80%) of barley and hay. Dry matter intake was fixed at 48 g D.M/kg P0.75 per day. In similar feeding and environmental conditions, eating behaviour and rumination of goats and sheep did not differ much: the goats tended to eat faster and there were more rumination periods in the sheep. Latency time, mean duration of rumination periods, daily rumination time and circadian pattern of rumination did not differ significantly between the two species (fig. 1). With both diets we observed a higher VFA concentration and a lower acetate/propionate ratio in the rumen of the ewes; however, rumen pH was lower only in those eating the 80% barley ration (fig. 2). Blood VFA in the jugular vein did not differ between sheep and goats (fig. 3). The proportion of cereals and hay in the diets affected rumen fermentation and rumination pattern in both species. With a higher concentrate/roughage ratio, rumen and plasma VFA increased, while the pH and acetate/propionate ratio in the lumen juice, the number of rumination periods and daily rumination time decreased. When the animals were fed the 80% barley ration, there was practically no rumination in the first 9 h after the single meal. During this time, rumen pH was minimal and VFA levels in the rumen and blood were maximal.