the objective of this study was to determine the effect of liquid and solid diet intake on growth and rumen development of dairy calves. the experiment was conducted in a commercial dairy farm located at 2500 m.a.s.l in the province of cartago, costa rica. ten holstein calves were selected at birth and randomly included in 1 of 2 treatments. the conventional treatment consisted in providing calves a liquid diet on a restricted basis (4 l.calf-1.d-1). the intensive treatment consisted in supplying calves the same liquid diet in larger quantities, up to 8 l.calf-1.d-1. growth measurements including body weight, hip height and withers height were taken weekly. calves were sacrificed at 8 weeks of age, in order to compare rumen growth and development. animals in the intensive treatment had a significantly higher liquid diet intake and lower feed intake than calves in the conventional treatment. growth measurements showed no significant differences between treatment groups. calves in the intensive treatment had a poor rumen development and lesser papillae growth, which may negatively affect calves’ post-weaning performance.