Abstract Four Nili-Ravi buffalo calves (100 ± 4 kg) were used in 4 × 4 Latin Square Design to evaluate the influence of varying ruminally degradable protein (RDP) to ruminally undegradable protein (RUP) ratio on dry matter intake (DMI), digestibility and nitrogen (N) metabolism. Four experimental diets A, B, C and D were formulated to contain RDP:RUP of 70:30, 65:35, 60:40 and 55:45, respectively. The calves were fed ad libitum. Dry matter intake by calves fed C diet was higher ( P < 0.05) than those fed D diet and lower ( P < 0.05) than calves fed A diet, however, it was similar to those fed B diet. There was a linear decrease ( P < 0.01) in DMI with decreasing the RDP to RUP ratio. Similar trend was noticed in crude protein (CP) intake. Neutral detergent fiber (NDF) intake was significantly different across all treatment. The decrease in CP and NDF intake was due to decreasing trend of DMI. Dry matter (DM) digestibility in calves fed A and B diets was higher ( P < 0.05) than those fed C and D diets. A linear decrease ( P < 0.01) in DM digestibility was observed with decreasing the RDP to RUP ratio. Crude protein digestibility remained unaltered across all treatments. Neutral detergent fiber digestibility was higher in calves fed A and B diets than those fed C and D diets. Higher NDF digestibility in calves fed A and B diets was due to higher level of dietary RDP that might resulted in higher ruminal ammonia concentration which stimulate activity of cellulytic bacteria and ultimately increased NDF digestibility. The N retention (g/d) was similar among the calves fed B, C and D diets, however, it was higher ( P < 0.05) than those fed A diet. Decreasing the RDP to RUP ratio resulted in linear increase ( P < 0.01) in N retention. The N retention, as percent of N intake was significantly different across all treatments. Decreasing RDP to RUP ratio resulted in linear increase ( P < 0.01) in N retention, as percent of N intake. A similar trend was noticed in N retention, as percentage of N digestion. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) concentration in calves fed B diet was higher ( P < 0.05) than those fed D diet and was lower ( P < 0.05) than those fed A diet, however, it was not different from calves fed C diet. Decreasing dietary RDP to RUP ratio resulted in linear decrease ( P < 0.05) in BUN concentrations. The decrease in BUN concentration was because of decreasing level of dietary RDP. The N retention can be increased by decreasing RDP to RUP ratio in the diet of growing buffalo calves and diet containing RDP to RUP ratio 55:45 is considered optimum regarding N retention in buffalo calves.