Energy expenditure was estimated using the doubly-labelled water (DLW) method in summer in five free-living adult, non-pregnant, non-lactating, red deer (Cervus elaphus) hinds (weight 107.3 (se 0.9) kg; age 6 (se 1) years) on lowland pasture under typical farming conditions. Climatic conditions were monitored throughout the experiment. Errors due to 2H losses in CH4 and faeces were calculated from previous estimates of stoichiometries. CH4 production, fractionated water loss, urinary N and O2 consumption were estimated using an iterative approach. The water flux (rH2O) in these animals consuming only fresh grass was 12 (se 0.5) kg/d, the CO2 production (rCO2) was 1271 (se 4.0) litres/d and the mean energy expenditure was 25 (se 0.8) MJ/d. There were no significant differences in the isotope distribution spaces and flux rates, rH2O, rCO2 or energy expenditure using the multi-point or two-point approaches to calculation. The DLW-derived energy expenditure of 25 MJ/d is approximately 20% higher than the recommended intake of 21 MJ/d for adult hinds kept outdoors (Adam, 1986) and, at 757 kJ/kg0.75 per d, one third higher than the value of 570 kJ/kg0.75 per d for stags penned indoors (Key et al. 1984).