West African Dwarf goats and sheep were used in two different experiments to establish the concentration of caustic soda (NaOH) solution needed to improve the nutritive quality of maize cobs for small ruminant feeding; and to study the extent to which caustic soda-treated maize cobs can be substituted for conventional feed stuffs in sheep and goat diets. Treatment with 10 g NaOH I-1 (or 0.05 g NaOH g-1 DM maize cobs) significantly (P < 0.05) improved feed consumption, DM digestibility and liveweight gain. Incorporation of up to 30% treated maize cobs in the diet improved DM intake non-significantly over that of the control. Goats fed on 30% treated maize cobs gained weight faster than the control animals although the reverse was the case with the sheep. Generally, goats tolerated the alkali better than the sheep.