A survey was undertaken of the occurrence, serotype, antimicrobial sensitivity and plasmid content of members of the tribe Proteeae in the environment of two calf-rearing units in the county of Avon in South West England. Examples of the following species were found: Proteus mirabilis, Prot. vulgaris, Prot. vulgaris Biogroup 2, Morganella morganii, Providencia stuartii, Prov. alcalifaciens and Prov. rettgeri. A wide range of serotypes was found, many having been previously reported from nosocomial isolates. A total of 15% of isolates carried plasmids; six pairs of isolates were identified which had identical serotypes but different patterns of plasmid carriage. The antimicrobial sensitivity of the isolates was generally similar to isolates of Proteeae from humans. Although no truly aminoglycoside-resistant isolates were found, some isolates of Prov. stuartii and Prov. rettgeri had MIC's higher than the other isolates to gentamicin and netilmicin, suggesting the presence of low levels of the enzyme AAC 2'. The study demonstrates that there is a considerable diversity of species and types of Proteeae associated with calves and their environment. It seems likely that a potential cause of colonization of the human gut by Proteeae is the consumption of meat.