1. The effects of different dietary concentrations of calcium (Ca), available phosphorus (AP) and vitamin D (D) on 5- to 16-day growth performance, and aspects of calcium and phosphorus (P) metabolism of chickens from three commercial strains were studied in two experiments. 2. Increasing dietary Ca reduced weight gain, tibia Ca and P content and increased plasma total Ca, Ca consumption and excretion, whilst dietary Ca at 32 g/kg increased tibia Ca:P ratio, plasma ionized calcium and reduced plasma P, tibia ash, P excretion, excreta moisture and Ca retention. 3. Increasing dietary AP reduced plasma total and ionized Ca and excreta moisture and increased P consumption and excretion, plasma P and tibia ash. 4. The addition of vitamin D increased plasma total and ionized Ca, tibia Ca:P ratio and reduced plasma sodium and P concentrations. 5. Strains differed in their tibia contents of Ca and Ca:P ratios, in response to Ca, AP and vitamin D diets whilst they differed in Ca excretion and excreta moisture caused by feeding either dietary Ca or AP. 6. It was concluded that dietary Ca, AP, vitamin D and strain of broiler chickens influenced the metabolism of Ca and P and that, as a consequence, the tolerance to high dietary Ca. A lean strain of chickens tolerated high dietary calcium better than its fat counterparts.