Twenty-four Alpine doelings, initial 25.3 ± 0.55 kg body weight (BW) and 10.4 ± 0.11 mo of age, and 24 Katahdin ewe lambs, 28.3 ± 1.02 kg BW and 9.6 ± 0.04 mo of age, were used to determine effects of dietary inclusion of Sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata) hay on feed intake, digestion, growth performance, energy metabolism, and ruminal fermentation and methane emission. There were four periods, the first three 42 days in length and the fourth 47 days. Diets consumed ad libitum contained 75% coarsely ground hay with alfalfa (ALF), a 1:1 mixture of ALF and LES (ALF+LES), and LES (10.0% condensed tannins; CT). The intake of dry matter (DM) tended to be greater (p = 0.063) for Katahdin than for Alpine (4.14 vs. 3.84% BW; SEM = 0.110). The dry matter intake was similar among the diets (3.97, 4.10, and 3.89% BW for ALF, ALF+LES, and LES, respectively; SEM = 0.134). The digestion of organic matter (75.3, 69.3, and 65.5%; SEM = 0.86), neutral detergent fiber (61.7, 50.5, and 41.4%; SEM = 1.49), and nitrogen (78.8, 66.9, and 50.8% for ALF, ALF+LES, and LES, respectively; SEM = 0.92) decreased as the dietary concentration of lespedeza increased (p < 0.05). However, there was an interaction (p < 0.05) between the breed and diet in nitrogen digestion, with a greater value for goats vs. sheep with LES (54.4 vs. 47.3%; SEM = 1.30). The digested nitrogen intake decreased markedly with the increasing quantity of lespedeza (38.0, 27.5, and 15.7 g/day for ALF, ALF+LES, and LES, respectively; SEM = 1.26). The average daily gain was greater for Katahdin than for Alpine (p < 0.001; 180 vs. 88 g, SEM = 5.0) and ranked (p < 0.05) ALF > ALF+LES > LES (159, 132, and 111 g, respectively; SEM = 6.1). The ruminal methane emission differed (p < 0.05) between animal types in MJ/day (1.17 and 1.44), kJ/g DM intake (1.39 and 1.23), and kJ/g ADG (18.1 and 9.8 for Alpine and Katahdin, respectively). Regardless of the period and animal type, diet did not impact methane emission in MJ/day or relative to DM intake, BW, or ADG (p > 0.05). The digestible and metabolizable energy intakes, heat production, and retained energy were not affected by diet (p > 0.05). In conclusion, future research should consider the marked potential effect of CT of forages such as lespedeza on nitrogen digestion and associated effects on protein status and other conditions that may be impacted.