Fermentation characteristics of wheat, rye, maize and triticale starches by mixed micro-organisms from the sheep rumen were determined in an in vitro experiment. Starch was incubated with ruminal fluid for 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 h and various fermentation variables were determined. The rates of fermentation of the starches were not different (p > 0.05) from each other except for 2 and 4 h of incubation. Likewise, net ammonia production, sugar utilization, microbial biomass and the efficiency of microbial protein synthesis did not differ between the starches (p > 0.05). The proportions of sugar utilized were similar between the starches and approximately 75% of the starches were fermented during the 12-h incubation. The 12-h net concentrations of individual and total volatile fatty acids (VFA) were affected (p < 0.05) by the type of starch. The concentrations of acetate, propionate and butyrate and that of total VFA from wheat, maize and triticale incubations were higher (p < 0.05) than those from rye incubation. The results suggest that the type of starch subject to investigation had no measurable effects on fermentation variables determined in this study except for individual and total VFA concentrations.