The general principles of growth and nutrients required are no different for young calves than for any other species. Additional complexity is introduced, however, by the need to transition the young preruminant to functioning ruminant. The nutritional and digestive physiology of dairy calves as future ruminants needs to be the governing factor in designing practical feeding systems to meet nutrient requirements. Key aspects common to all systems include the composition and amount of liquid feed, water availability, and the first starter feeds offered. This article focuses on nutrition of calves before weaning and to breeding age, with primary emphasis on the preweaning and transition phases.