The aim of this study was to determine the effect of potassium (K) supplementation on the calcium (Ca) absorption capacity from the rumen and abomasum of sheep. The Ca absorption capacity from the rumen and abomasum of sheep was measured using stable strontium (Sr) as a Ca-analogue tracer method. The sheep, cannulated at either the rumen or abomasum, were randomly allocated to one of two groups (control or K-supplemented) and fed in individual metabolism pens twice daily with a diet comprising oaten hay, lucerne chaff and barley fortified with or without potassium carbonate (K2CO3). The K content of the diet of the K-supplemented animals was 3.1% of dry matter compared with 1.4% for the control animals. The animals were fed their respective diets for a period of 2 weeks. The fractional absorption capacity (FC) of Ca was estimated before, during and after the treatment period. Supplementation with K decreased the FC of Ca in both the rumen and abomasum during treatment and increased the FC of Ca in the abomasum post-treatment. Supplementation with K also increased the fractional excretion of K in the urine, but decreased the fractional excretion of Ca and magnesium (Mg) (P < 0.05), showing that K supplementation significantly affected Ca and Mg metabolism. Results suggest that renal conservation of Ca and Mg is an important mechanism controlling the Ca and Mg pool for vital functions of the body. In times of high demand for these minerals during lactation and pregnancy, high K in the diets may predispose sheep to hypomagnesaemia and hypocalcaemia, which in turn will have a negative impact on productivity and economic returns.