The experiment tested the hypothesis that short-term feeding of barley just before lambing would be as effective as maize in stimulating early production of colostrum. Both grains are high in starch, and should provide a substrate for lactose which, in turn, promotes lactogenesis. Thirty-five Corriedale ewes bearing single foetuses and 25 bearing twin-foetuses from a synchronised mating were fed on pasture during most of gestation. Fourteen days before the expected time of lambing the single- and twin-bearing ewes were allocated to three treatments and fed (1) a basal diet of lucerne hay to meet their nutrient requirements, (2) the basal diet plus a supplement of whole barley; or (3) the basal diet plus a supplement of cracked maize. The twin-bearing control ewes accumulated more colostrum than the single-bearing control ewes at birth (292 v. 190 g). However, supplementation with barley or maize increased the colostrum at birth to 360 and 541 g in singles and 648 and 623 g in twins. We conclude that barley is a good alternative to maize to stimulate production of colostrum especially in twin-bearing ewes whose lambs are the most likely to benefit from the supplement.