Eight wether lambs fitted with ruminal, duodenal, and ileal cannulas were used in a replicated 4 x 4 Latin square design to study the effects of carbohydrate and protein sources on ruminal protein metabolism and carbohydrate fermentation and intestinal amino acid (AA) absorption. Treatments were arranged as a 2 x 2 factorial. Carbohydrate sources were corn and barley; protein sources were soybean meal (SBM) and fish meal (FM). Diets contained 15.5% CP, of which 40% was supplied by SBM or FM. Corn or barley provided 39% of dietary DM that contained equal amounts of grass hay and wheat straw. Fish meal diets produced a lower (P less than .05) ruminal NH3 concentration and resulted in less CP degradation and bacterial protein flow to the duodenum than did SBM diets. Replacing SBM with FM increased (P less than .05) ruminal digestion of all fiber fractions. In addition, cellulose and hemicellulose digestibilities in the rumen tended to increase (P greater than .05) when barley replaced corn in the FM diets. Carbohydrate x protein interactions (P less than .05) were observed for OM digestion in the rumen and AA absorption in the small intestine (percentage of AA entering); these interactions were highest for the barley-FM diet. These results suggest that feeding FM with barley, which is high in both degradable carbohydrate and protein, might benefit ruminants more than feeding FM with corn, which is high in degradable carbohydrate but relatively low in degradable protein.