Our objective was to examine the influence of feeding and endogenous GH secretion on circulating IGF-I in colostrum-deprived newborn pigs fed colostrum (n = 4), formula (control, n = 4), or water (n = 4). In another four formula-fed pigs, GH was ablated (GRF-A) with two intravenous injections of a GH releasing-factor antagonist (N-Ac-Tyr1,D-Arg2)-GRF(1-29)-NH2. Blood was serially sampled in all pigs to measure plasma IGF-I and GH profiles. Feeding increased plasma IGF-I concentration two- to fourfold and decreased GH secretion. Despite a more than 80% decrease in the plasma GH in GRF-A pigs, the circulating IGF-I concentration was similar to that in control pigs. In colostrum-fed pigs, plasma IGF-I was higher than that in control pigs, despite equal nutrient intake and lower circulating GH. There were no differences in plasma IGF binding protein (IGFBP)-3 levels among the treatment groups. However, the relative abundance of plasma IGFBP-4 was lower, and that of IGFBP-1 higher, in unfed pigs than in any of the three fed groups. The plasma insulin concentration was not different among fed pigs, but it was lower in unfed pigs. Our results indicate that the circulating IGF-I concentration is more dependent on nutrient intake than on GH in newborn pigs, despite relatively high GH concentrations. However, because the nutrient content in the formula was designed to match that of colostrum, a factor other than nutrient intake and GH was responsible for the maximal increase in circulating IGF-I concentration observed in colostrum-fed pigs.