Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and transgalactooligosaccharides (TOS), which are non-digestible oligosaccharides (NDO), were included at 10 and 40 g/kg in an NDO--free control diet at the expense of purified cellulose. Each of the 5 diets was fed to 4 weaner pigs and microbial characteristics of their ileal chyme and faeces were assessed. The NDO-pigs had lower ileal pH than the control pigs. Dietary NDO did not affect the ileal volatile fatty acid concentration, though FOS-pigs had a higher concentration of lactic acid and relatively more iso-valeric acid and less acetic acid than TOS-pigs. The NDO-pigs had lower ileal aerobic bacterial counts than the control pigs, whilst the FOS-pigs had a larger ileal anaerobic bacterial counts than the TOS-pigs. The NDO-pigs had an higher faecal pH and their faecal volatile fatty acid pool contained relatively more iso-butyric acid and iso-valeric acid than the control pigs. The TOS-pigs tended to have higher faecal anaerobic bacterial counts and had a smaller concentration of faecal volatile fatty acid than the FOS-pigs. We concluded that whilst effects at the faecal level may have been partly due to a reduced intake of cellulose, dietary NDO can exert precaecal prebiotic effects in weaner pigs.