A grazing experiment, conducted for 22 weeks in 1992/93 at Aorangi Research Station, AgResearch Grasslands, Manawatu, New Zealand, compared the productivity of weaned lambs grazing Lotus corniculatus (birdsfoot trefoil) and lucerne (Medicago sativa). Effects of condensed tannins (CT) in lotus were evaluated by studying the responses of lambs to twice daily oral supplementation with polyethylene glycol (PEG). A rotational grazing system with restricted feed allowance was used. Measurements were made of pre- and post-grazing herbage mass, the composition of the feed on offer and diet selected, voluntary feed intake (VFI), liveweight gain (LWG), carcass growth, wool growth and the concentration of metabolites in rumen fluid. For both lotus and lucerne swards, the diet selected was mainly leaf. Lotus contained 34 g total CT/kg dry matter in the diet selected, whilst there were essentially no CT in lucerne. Compared to lambs grazing lucerne, lambs grazing lotus had slightly lower VFI, and higher LWG, carcass weight gain, carcass dressing-out percentage and wool growth. PEG supplementation had no effect on these measurements or upon the composition of rumen fluid in lambs grazing lucerne. However, in lambs grazing lotus, PEG supplementation reduced wool growth (10.9 v. 12.1 g/day), slightly reduced LWG(188 v. 203 g/day), increased rumen ammonia concentration, and increased the molar proportions of iso-butyric, isovaleric and n-valeric acids and protozoa numbers in rumen fluid. PEG supplementation did not affect carcass gain, carcass fatness or the molar proportion of rumen acetic, propionic or n-butyric acids in lambs grazing lotus. It was concluded that the principal effect of CT in growing lambs grazing lotus was to increase wool growth without affecting VFI, thereby increasing the efficiency of wool production, that the greater rate of carcass gain of lambs grazing lotus than those grazing lucerne was mainly caused by factors other than CT and that CT did not affect the rumen fermentation of carbohydrate to major volatile fatty acids.