Daily secretion of pancreatic juice, including postprandial responses to food, was investigated in two groups of calves: preruminant (fed with liquid food) and ruminant (fed with solid food). Male Friesian calves (1 week old and 6 weeks old) were surgically fitted with a pancreatic duct catheter, duodenal cannula and two duodenal electrodes. Continuous 24 h collections of pancreatic juice and myoelectrical recordings were performed with minimal restraint and disturbance of animals. In both groups of calves clear periodic fluctuations in pancreatic juice secretion (volume, protein output and trypsin activity) coinciding with duodenal migrating myoelectric complexes (MMC) were recorded. Secretion of juice per cycle and per day was greater in ruminant calves, but the frequency and amplitude of cycles were lower in this group. There were no differences between day and night-time preprandial pancreatic cycles and duodenal MMC in preruminant calves, whilst in ruminant calves, evening MMC were longer than morning MMC. The pancreatic cephalic phase (increase of volume flow, protein output and trypsin activity during and just after food intake) was significant only in preruminant calves following morning feeding. Postprandial pancreatic cycles did not differ from preprandial cycles, except the pancreatic cycle (juice volume and trypsin activity) in which food was offered in preruminant calves. No gastric or intestinal phase was observed in either group of calves. In conclusion, biological cycles of the gastrointestinal tract are present in both preruminant and ruminant calves, and these cycles evolve along with the change from liquid to solid food.