Thirty young male sheep were given air-dried foliage of Acacia cyanophylla Lindl. ad libitum and 400 g oat hay. Animals were divided into five equal groups each of which was supplemented with either 300 g concentrate with (CPEG) or without (C) 20 g polyethylene glycol 4000 (PEG) or urea-containing feedblocks with (BUPEG) or without (BU) PEG. One other treatment was PEG-containing feedblock without urea (BPEG). PEG was used to preferentially bind A. cyanophylla condensed tannins (CT). Feedblocks (BU, BPEG and BUPEG respectively) were made from olive cake (395, 376 and 353), wheat bran (263, 250 and 235), wheatfeeds (132, 125 and 118), quicklime (88, 83 and 78), salt (44, 42 and 39), mineral and vitamin supplement (12, 10 and 10), urea (66, 0 and 59) and PEG (0, 114 and 107 g/kg). These diets were used in growth (60 days) and metabolism (7 days) studies. Urea-containing feedblocks, as compared with concentrate, were higher in crude protein (CP; 235 v. 116 g/kg DM) and lower in metabolizable energy (6 v. 10 MJ/kg DM). The type of supplement (i.e. concentrate v. feedblocks) had no effect (P > 0·05) on A. cyanophylla DM intake, CP and neutral-detergent fibre (NDF) digestibilities and nitrogen (N) retention. However, concentrate-containing diets exhibited higher DM and organic matter (OM) digestibilities (P < 0·05), urinary excretion of allantoin (P < 0·05), microbial N supply (P < 0·001) and average daily gain (P < 0·001). PEG supply increased DM intake of A. cyanophylla, CP digestibility, N retention, allantoin voided in urine, microbial N supply and lamb growth. PEG-containing feedblocks enriched (BUPEG) or not (BPEG) with urea had similar effect on A. cyanophylla intake, DM, OM and NDF digestibilities, allantoin in urine, microbial N supply and average daily gain. These findings suggested that urea inclusion in feedblocks are not necessary and thus the feeding cost may be reduced. The higher amount of microbial N and daily gain in lambs given concentrate as compared with those on feedblock-supplemented diets was ascribed to the level of energy which was low in the latter diets. Enrichment of feedblocks with energy-rich ingredients such as molasses or cactus fruits could be a solution. This work confirmed that tannins depressed the nutritive value of this shrub species and lamb growth. However, the reduction was not drastic in the absence of PEG in the diet. Feedblock diet (BU) matched maintenance requirements of lambs while lambs on concentrate-supplemented diet (C) grew at a rate of 78 g/day. The choice between these two supplements will depend upon farm conditions and objectives.