The plasma concentrations of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, and vitamin D metabolites were determined in cholecalciferol-treated sows and untreated sows at parturition and their piglets (at birth and at 10 days of age) to determine the relationship between sow vitamin D status and neonatal piglet vitamin D status. At birth, there was a high degree of correlation between sow and piglet plasma concentrations of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (r = 0.944), 24,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol (r = 0.895), and 25,26-dihydroxycholecalciferol (r = 0.737). Neonatal piglet plasma 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D was low (42.0 +/- 10.2 pg/ml) and was not correlated with maternal plasma 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (r = 0.022). Neonatal plasma calcium and phosphorus were significantly correlated (P less than 0.05) with maternal plasma 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (r = 0.515 and 0.581, respectively). Parenteral cholecalciferol treatment of sows before parturition proved an effective means of supplementing young piglets with cholecalciferol (via the sow's milk) and its more polar metabolites via placental transport. However, it had no significant effect on either the plasma mineral or 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D status of the sow or young piglet.