Total and unilateral parotid saliva production during eating were measured in response to offering sheep a fixed amount of lucerne (Medicago sativa) hay as one, two, four or eight meals. Total saliva measurements were obtained using sham-fed oesophageal-fistulated sheep. Unilateral parotid saliva was collected from sheep fitted with reversible re-entrant cannulas. Dry matter intakes and eating times were measured for each meal but were not constrained to particular values. Total and unilateral parotid saliva production during eating increased linearly with the log of the number of meals (p = 0.0001). The amounts corresponding to one, two, four and eight meals of lucerne hay were 1553, 1737, 1851 and 2087 ml during total collections and 209, 248, 307 and 352 ml during unilateral parotid collections. The time-period spent eating and the amount of food consumed both increased as meal number increased. Total saliva collections when lucerne hay was sham-fed as one, two, four or eight meals were associated with eating times of 56.9, 57.4, 70.8 and 86.0 min and intakes of 562, 622, 629 and 638 g dry matter respectively. For unilateral parotid collections, eating times and dry matter intakes were 64.2, 71.3, 78.0, 82.1 min and 515, 579, 614 and 627 g for one, two, four and eight meals of lucerne hay respectively. The saliva production response appeared to be determined through the effects of the time-period spent eating and amounts consumed, but other undetermined effects of feeding frequency contributed to the response. The importance of meal duration on total saliva production was assessed by sham-feeding of 800 g lucerne as stem, leaf, hay, chopped hay or ground and pelleted hay. Increasing meal duration by feeding with stems resulted in the production of 1808 ml saliva, whereas the rapid consumption of pellets resulted in only 442 ml being produced.