The objective of the present study was to measure changes in splanchnic blood flow and oxygen consumption in sheep fed on a high-concentrate diet ad lib. (ADLIB) or an amount sufficient to maintain body-weight (MAINT) for 21 d. Eleven ram lambs were surgically implanted with chronic indwelling catheters in the portal, hepatic and mesenteric veins and mesenteric artery to measure blood flow and net O2 flux through the liver and portal-drained viscera (PDV). During the 21 d period, PDV (P less than 0.05) and liver (P less than 0.01) blood flow increased in ADLIB and decreased in MAINT lambs (treatment x day, linear). After 21 d, O2 consumptions in PDV and liver of MAINT lambs were 37 and 63% lower than in ADLIB lambs. In the control period, total splanchnic tissues represented an average of 52% of whole body O2 consumption. After 21 d, the relative contributions of PDV and liver to whole-body O2 consumption were 28 and 41% in ADLIB and 19 and 22% in MAINT lambs respectively. Allometric regression variables indicate that liver O2 consumption responds more rapidly to changes in metabolizable energy intake than portal O2 consumption. These results indicate that blood flow and O2 consumption in both PDV and liver are related to level of nutrition. Furthermore, splanchnic tissues represent a significant component of whole-body O2 consumption that is subject to manipulation by level of nutrition.