The species composition, distribution, and biodiversity of the bacterial communities in the rumen of cows fed alfalfa or triticale were investigated using 16S rRNA gene clone library analyses. The rumen bacterial community was fractionated and analyzed as three separate fractions: populations in the planktonic, loosely attached to rumen digesta particles, and tightly attached to rumen digesta particles. Six hundred and thirteen operational taxonomic units (OTUs) belonging to 32 genera, 19 families, and nine phyla of the domain Bacteria were identified from 1014 sequenced clones. Four hundred and fifty one of the 613 OTUs were identified as new species. These bacterial sequences were distributed differently among the three fractions in the rumen digesta of cows fed alfalfa or triticale. Chao 1 estimation revealed that, in both communities, the populations tightly attached to particulates were more diverse than the planktonic and those loosely attached to particulates. S-Libshuff detected significant differences in the composition between any two fractions in the rumen of cows with the same diet and between the communities fed alfalfa and triticale diets. The species richness estimated for the communities fed alfalfa and triticale is 1027 and 662, respectively. The diversity of the rumen bacterial community examined in this study is greater than previous studies have demonstrated and the differences in the community composition between two high-fiber diets have implications for sample selection for downstream metagenomics applications.