1. Sheep with oesophageal fistulas were sham-fed on pelleted lucerne (Medicago sativa) hay to assess the palatability of added chemicals representing the tastes of sweet (sucrose), sour (hydrochloric acid), salt (sodium chloride), bitter (urea) and umami (monosodium glutamate; MSG).
2. Plain pellets and four concentrations of each chemical were sham-fed for 30 min after 5·5 h deprivation in 5x5 Latin-square experiments following a period of adaptation feeding.
3. Sucrose, at concentrations of 15–120 g/kg air-dried pellets, depressed intakes with a linear relation between intake (I; g) and concentration (C; g/kg): I = 1001-3·42C.
4. HCl at 6·25–25·0 g/kg pellets had no effect on sham intakes but at 50 g/kg reduced them by 50% of control (P < 0·05).
5. NaCl at 50–200 g/kg increased sham intakes by 26% (P < 0·01) with no evidence of a dose-related effect.
6. Urea at 10–80 g/kg decreased sham intakes by 26·9% (P < 0·01) with no evidence of a dose-related effect.
7. MSG at 5–40 g/kg in two experiments increased sham intakes by 16·1 and 40·8% (P < 0·05). In another experiment at 1-8 g/kg there wasno significant effect.
8. When palatability and post-ingestive effects are separated by sham-feeding, the effect of added chemicals on intake may be completely different from when they are ingestednormally (e.g. NaCl and sucrose). This newly developed technique enables the palatabilityeffect of feed additives to be tested critically and economically.