Thirty-eight dry, pregnant Jersey cows were assigned to diet and bST treatment in a 2 x 2 factorial design. During the dry period, half of the cows were fed a normal TMR (0.4% Ca; 0.3 to 0.4% P), and half of the cows were fed a high Ca TMR (1.5 to 1.6% Ca; 0.4 to 0.7% P). The high Ca diets were designed to induce milk fever and were relatively cationic (194 to 293 meq/kg) compared with the normal diets (-131 to 30 meq/kg). A standard dairy diet was fed to all cows postcalving. Cows received subcutaneous injections of either an oil-based excipient or 500 mg of bST in an oil-based excipient every 14 d from 28 d before expected calving until approximately 14 d postcalving. Peripartal bST treatment decreased the incidence of clinical mastitis, did not affect incidence of milk fever, and increased the duration, but not the incidence, of ketosis in mature Jersey cows. Blood data confirmed the clinical responses and indicated that treated cows mobilized more bone Ca than did controls, as was evidenced by increased hydroxyproline concentrations. Treatment with bST did not affect blood concentrations of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, Ca, or Mg. High Ca diets increased the incidence of milk fever and downer cow syndrome compared with normal diets. The effect of bST on mastitis and milk production must be considered as preliminary given the small size of the study. Although bST treatment increased Ca mobilization, the effect was insufficient to prevent milk fever in this model.