The present study was carried out to evaluate the effect of dietary supplemental vitamin D3 (VD3) on P absorption and utilisation as well as its related mechanisms in the small intestine of broilers. A total of 384 1-d-old Arbor Acres male broilers were assigned randomly into four treatments following a completely randomised design with a 2 (dietary non-phytate P (NPP) contents: 0·43 and 0·22 %)×2 (dietary VD3 supplemental levels: 0 and 87·5 μg/kg) factorial arrangement. The experiment lasted for 22 d. The results showed that P contents in serum from the hepatic portal vein and tibia ash of broilers were higher (P<0·05) for 0·43 % NPP than for 0·22 % NPP. The type IIb Na-dependent phosphate cotransporter (NaP-IIb) protein expressions in the duodenum and ileum were higher (P<0·05) also for 0·43 % NPP than 0·22 % NPP. Supplementation of VD3 enhanced (P<0·05) tibia P retention rate and type III Na-dependent phosphate cotransporter (PiT)-1 protein expression in the duodenum of all broilers. Moreover, VD3 supplementation decreased (P<0·002) mortality and increased (P<0·02) serum P content from the hepatic portal vein after 4 h of feeding, tibia ash content, tibia ash P content and protein expressions of NaP-IIb and PiT-1 in the jejunum of broilers fed diet with 0·22 % NPP. Thus, dietary supplemental VD3 promoted intestinal P absorption and bone P utilisation, and this effect might be associated with enhanced PiT-1 levels in the duodenum and PiT-1 and NaP-IIb levels in the jejunum respectively when dietary NPP is limiting.