The aim of this study was to compare effects of dietary inclusion of hazelnut meal (HZM) with soybean meal (SBM) on site of digestion and microbial protein synthesis in sheep. Four ruminally and duodenally cannulated female Redkaraman x kivircik sheep (initial BW of 44.0 +/- 1.02 kg) were utilized in a crossover experiment. Sheep were fed a diet of 60% corn silage (DM basis) and 40% concentrate consisting of barley and SBM or HZM. Feed was fed at 115% of ad libitum intake. Intakes of dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and acid detergent fiber (ADF) were similar between sheep fed SBM or HZM based diets (P > 0.05). Organic matter intake averaged 1089 (2.37% BW) and 1143 g/day (2.42% BW) for SBM and HZM, respectively. Apparent and true ruminal and total tract DM and OM digestibilities did not differ between diets (P > 0.05). True ruminal OM digestibility was 74.3 and 74.6% for SBM and HZM based diets, respectively. Total CP entering the duodenum was similar between diets (P > 0.05). Dietary plus endogenous CP entering the duodenum in grams and as a percentage of total CP was greater (P < 0.05) for SBM versus HZM. Quantities of microbial protein (P < 0.15) and NH3 N (P < 0.08) flowing to the duodenum tended to be less for SBM versus HZM; percentages of total CP were lower (P < 0.05) for SBM. Apparent ruminal and total tract CP digestibilities did not differ between diets, but true ruminal CP digestibility and efficiency of microbial protein synthesis tended to be higher in animals fed the HZM based diet compared with the diet based on SBM (P < 0.13). In conclusion, because total CP entering duodenum did not differ between diets, HZM can be substituted for SBM in sheep fed corn silage and barley based diets with a moderate CP level. (c) 2005 Published by Elsevier B.V.