In the present study we have developed the agar-fill method for the measurement of gastrointestinal-tract capacity (GTC) to replace the in vitro water-fill method. This would estimate GTC without using complex equipment and techniques, and can be applied to the measurement of GTC for small laboratory animals. We attempted to confirm the efficiency of the agar-fill method by investigating the relationship between dietary neutral-detergent fibre (NDF) content and GTC. The digestion trials were carried out using the Syrian hamster (Mesocricefus auretus). The trials were conducted using both sexes, two age-groups and three levels of dietary NDF with a cross-classified design. The size of each gastrointestinal organ was determined as tissue weight(TW)and GTC. The DM intake, digestible DM intake, DM digestibility, NDF digestibfity, aciddetergent fibre(ADF) digestibfity and digesta transit time were also measured. GTC increased with increasing NDF content of the diets. TW responded similarly to increasing NDF content, but the response was smaller than that of GTC. DM digestibility decreased with increasing NDF content of the diet. The digestible DM intake did not decrease with increasing NDF because DM intake increased with NDF content. Digesta transit time was not shorter of the high-NDF-diet group but DM intake increased with increasing NDF content. NDF digestibility did not differ significantly between low- and medium-NDF diets. ADF digestibility was low in the low-NDF-diet group.The digestion characteristics were highly correlated with TW and GTC, except for TW of small intestine. These correlations were higher with GTC than with TW. The results of the present study confirm previous findings suggesting that the agar-fill method is a useful means of estimating GTC for small laboratory animals.