Maiden Red Maasai and Dorper ewes were kept indoors and artificially infected with a single oral dose of 5000 infective larvae of Haemonchus contortus. Their faecal egg counts (FEC) and packed red cell volumes (PCV) were monitored for 9 weeks. They were then treated with an anthelmintic and turned out to graze together on a pasture contaminated with H. contortus. They grazed this pasture for 14 months and were allowed to mate and lamb. While at pasture the ewes were monitored for FEC, PCV and peripheral eosinophilia. Red Maasai ewes had significantly lower FEC, and for certain periods, significantly higher PCV and peripheral eosinophilia. During the periparturient period, FEC were about twice as high in the Dorper breed as the Red Maasai. These results confirm and extend previous reports on the superiority of the Red Maasai breed in East Africa.