The oesophageal groove reflex was examined in 6 milk-fed Holstein Friesian calves once weekly during the first 17 weeks of life. Additionally, the effect of different feeding methods (bucket, different nipple positions and openings), different milk temperatures (20, 30, 39, 45°C) and milk replacer concentrations (100, 125, 150 grams/litre of water) on oesophageal groove closure was investigated. The reticulum and abomasum were examined ultrasonographically using a 5.0-MHz convex transducer before, during and after feeding, and the oesophageal groove reflex was considered to be functional when milk was seen entering the abomasum during feeding. The reflex was consistently induced throughout the study period in all calves at all examinations and under all experimental conditions. However, it should not be assumed that feeding technique can be neglected in unweaned calves because suboptimal feeding management has been linked to various digestive disorders.