Several methods are available to extract total lipid and methylate fatty acids from a range of samples including red blood cells (RBC). Fatty acid analysis of human RBC can be undertaken using a two-step extraction and methylation or a combined one-step extraction and methylation procedure. The lipid composition of sheep RBC differs significantly from that of humans and may affect their extraction. The purpose of the current study was to examine the efficiency of extraction of lipid and detection of fatty acids from sheep RBC using a one-step procedure. Fatty acids were analysed using a one-step extraction and methylation procedure using methanol:toluene and acetyl chloride in comparison with a two-step procedure involving extraction of lipid using chloroform:methanol and separate methylation. Concentrations of saturated fatty acids including C16:0 and C18:0 were significantly higher (42.6 and 33.9 % respectively) following extraction using the one-step procedure compared with the two-step procedure. However, concentrations of some polyunsaturated fatty acids, including C20:5n-3 and C22:6n-3 were not significantly different between either procedure. The improved detection of fatty acids may be related to the ability of different solvents to extract different lipid fractions. The differential extraction of lipids and detection of fatty acids from sheep RBC may have important implications in studies examining the effect of dietary treatment on the possible health benefits of fatty acids.