The hypoglossal (XII) nerve is made up of functionally different nerve branches: the medial branch related to protrusion of the tongue and the lateral branch related to its retraction. The present study was performed to determine the effects of facial (VII) and XII nerve injuries on the survival and growth of rats in which the unilateral or bilateral VII and XII nerve components (main trunk, XII-trunk; medial branch, XII-med; lateral branch, XII-lat) had been resected at different developmental stages. In the suckling period, unilateral as well as bilateral injuries in the XII-trunk or XII-med nerve produced disturbed milk intake, lower survival rates and growth retardation in the nerve-injured rats. In the transition and mastication periods, only bilateral injury in the XII-trunk or XII-med nerve produced disturbed food intake followed by lower survival rates and growth retardation in those animals. The unilateral XII-lat nerve injury did not have significant effects on milk and food intake, whereas the bilateral injury caused disturbance in milk intake especially at the early neonatal stage. The unilateral VII nerve injury at the early neonatal stage caused deteriorating effects on food intake resulting in lower survival rate and severe growth retardation in the nerve-injured rats. The results indicate that the survival and growth of XII and VII nerve-resected rats differ considerably depending on the nerves injured and the developmental ages of the animals at the time of nerve insult.