The effects of feeding different amounts of colostrum or only milk replacer and the effects of Long-R3-IGF-I (administered s.c. or orally; 50 microg/[kg BW x d] for 7 d), and of s.c. injected recombinant bovine GH (rbGH; 1 mg/[kg BW x d] for 7 d) on small intestinal mucosal morphology in newborn calves were studied by histomorphometry. Neonatal calves fed colostrum six times exhibited greater (P < .01) villus circumferences, areas, and heights in total small intestine and especially in the duodenum than calves fed only milk replacer. Furthermore, villus circumferences and areas in total small intestine were greater (P < .05) in calves fed colostrum once than in calves fed no colostrum. Villus size in total small intestine was smaller (P < .05) in rbGH-treated than in control calves; jejunum villus circumferences and heights were especially reduced (P < .05). Crypt depths in ileum were greater (P < .05) in rbGH-treated calves. In conclusion, prolonged colostrum supply significantly enhanced small intestinal villus size in neonatal calves. In contrast, Long-R3-IGF-I had no significant influence on small intestinal morphology, and rbGH in supraphysiological amounts even reduced small intestinal mucosal variables after 1 wk of treatment. The study demonstrated enhanced postnatal development of the gastrointestinal tract by prolonged colostrum feeding, but not by Long-R3-IGF-I or GH.