The effect of diethylstilbestrol (DES) on the composition of tissue gain of Hereford steers was studied in a complete slaughter balance trial. Eight steers were slaughtered initially (IS) and, after 177 days on feed, eight control steers (C) and seven steers that had been fed 20 mg DES daily (DES) were slaughtered. Initial full body weight averaged 224.8 kg, and final full body weight averaged 403.0 kg for the C steers and 433.6 kg for the DES steers. Final empty body weight averaged 346.6 kg for the C steers and 368.0 kg for the DES steers. DES improved live weight gain by 17% and conversion of feed dry matter to live weight by 12%. Recovery of wet weight during slaughter averaged 99.6%. DES steers had larger rib cut weights and greater proportions of separable lean and bone plus connective tissue in the rib cuts than C steers, an ribeye area tended to be larger in DES steers. DES caused a small shift in relative body composition toward more protein, moisture and ash. Tissue gain in DES steers consisted of 28.3% more protein, 26.0% more moisture, 73.2% more ash, 1.5% less fat and 109.1% more residual (dry matter not accounted for by N x 6.25, ether extract and ash) than did tissue gain in C steers. Energy gain per unit of energy intake over the feeding period was not affected by DES treatment, but DES improved protein gain per unit of protein intake and per unit of energy intake by approximately 20% within the total empty body and by about 25% within the carcass fraction. Results confirm indirect estimates in the literature indicating that DES increases skeletal growth and lean tissue deposition in feedlot steers.