Abstract. We developed a sensitive and specific radioimmunoassay for ovine bone gla-protein (osteocalcin) using a polyclonal rabbit antibody raised against ovine bone gla-protein. Bone from lambs was extracted in 0.5 mol/l EDTA and desalted on Sephadex G-25. Bone gla-protein was purified by gel filtration chromatography over Sephadex G-100 and ion-exchange chromatography on DEAE-Sephadex A-25. The protein, subjected to monodimensional electrophoresis migrated as a single spot in SDS PAGE with the same apparent molecular weight of 12 kD as bovine bone gla-protein. The amino acid composition of purified bone gla-protein was in agreement with a previous publication. The competitive RIA uses 125I-labelled bone gla-protein as a tracer and a complex of a second antibody and polyethylene glycol to separate free and antibody-bound 125I-labelled bone gla-protein. The intra- and inter-assay variations are less than 6 and 10%, respectively. There is no reactivity of our antisera with dog sera. The cross-reactivity is only partial with calf and human sera and complete with ovine sera. We measured bone gla-protein levels in serum of 96 normal male sheep of different ages. Serum bone gla-protein rapidly and significantly (P <0.001) decreased from 535 ± 169 μg/l at birth, to 240 ± 43 μg/l at 45 days, 152 ± 44 μg/l at 90 days, and 5.9 ± 0.7 μg/l at 7 years of age. In addition, bone gla-protein levels at birth were higher in normal birth weight than in hypotrophic lambs with low birth weight (535 ± 169 vs 271 ± 156 μg/l, P< 0.001). Furthermore, lambs raised outside in free conditions tended to have higher serum bone gla-protein levels than lambs raised under shelter (194 ± 53 vs 137 ± 34 μg/l), suggesting a role of breeding factors such as diet or relative immobilization on bone gla-protein levels. These results emphasize the interest of a RIA for the bone-specific protein bone gla-protein as a potential tool for experimental studies on skeletal growth and bone remodelling in a large animal.