The effect feeding antibiotics has on the bacterial population of the rabbit caecum was investigated. No changes in total volatile fatty acid production or total bacterial counts were observed compared with nonantibiotic treated controls. However, treatment with chlortetracycline resulted in an increase of propionate at the apparent cost of butyrate (P < 0.05). Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis indicated that the two antibiotics that inhibit protein synthesis (chlortetracycline and tiamulin) exerted the most similar changes on the bacterial population structure, decreasing the diversity of the profiles. Sequence analysis of DNA from excised denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis bands was carried out. The majority of the sequences observed were most similar to bacterial sequences previously described in other gut environments, with 11% being most similar to those previously reported from the rabbit, and 95% of the sequences having 95% or greater identity to sequences already in GenBank.