1. Semi-synthetic diets, with dried microbial cells (Pruteen) as the nitrogen source, were used to measure N retention in 50 kg pigs given different combinations of N intake involving periods of deprivation and enhanced supply.
2. Metabolic faecal N losses were 1.92 g/d (1.26 g/kg dry matter eaten) and endogenous urinary losses were 3.96 g/d for pigs given an N intake of 6.9 g/d.
3. Compensatory N retention averaging 4.2 g extra N/d was observed in pigs given enhanced N supply by diets providing 31.0, 60.4 and 93.4 g N/d. In some instances enhanced N retention was maintained for 22 d.
4. Pigs given enhanced N supply by extravagant N intake did not maintain the compensatory response which had been evident initially.