This study attempts to determine whether or not livestock are becoming more susceptible to epidemics of salmonella infections by the analysis of published data on the annual number of reported infections in various animals. The number of incidents reported each year may be subject to a variety of biases due to temporal and geographical differences in reporting practices. This study analysed these reports by the calculation of diversity indices which are not subject to some of these potential biases. The relationship between the ecological concept of niche width and the diversity of species or types occupying that niche is discussed. The diversity of salmonella types reported in fowl has shown a highly significant decline over the 13-year period 1976–88. It is suggested that this declining diversity may be related to the declining niche width of the biotope available to this pathogen. Although speculative, this reduction in niche width could be related to a declining genetic diversity in the host animals or to an increasing intensification of animal husbandry.