The effect of high-grain (HG) feeding on caecal bacterial microbiota composition and fermentation and mucosa health is largely unknown. In the present study, ten male goats were randomly assigned to either a group fed a hay diet (0 % grain; n 5) or a group fed a HG diet (65 % grain; n 5) to characterise the changes in the composition of the bacterial community and mucosal morphology in the caecum. After 7 weeks of feeding, the HG diet decreased the caecal pH (P< 0·001) and increased (P< 0·001 to P< 0·004) the caecal digesta concentrations of total volatile fatty acids and lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Pyrosequencing of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene revealed that HG feeding increased (P= 0·001 to P= 0·009) the abundance of predominant genera Turicibacter and Clostridium in the caecal lumen and in the caecal mucosa and decreased (P< 0·001 to P< 0·009) the proportion of Bacteroides in the lumen and Mucispirillum in the mucosa compared with the hay diet. Furthermore, the HG diet-fed goats exhibited intense epithelial damage and up-regulation (P< 0·001 to P< 0·025) of the relative mRNA expression of IL-1β, IL-6, IL-12 and interferon-γ (IFN-γ) in the caecal mucosa. The correlation analysis revealed that alterations in caecal pH, LPS concentration and mucosa-associated microbiota abundance during HG feeding might partly contribute to local inflammation. Collectively, these results provide insight into the adaptive response of caecal bacterial populations to HG feeding in goats and reveal that the fermentable substrates that flow into the caecum may cause dramatic alterations in microbial compositions and play a significant role in caecal dysfunction.