The effects of long term restricted feeding on the synthesis, storage, and release of GH, LH, FSH, and PRL were examined in adult ovariectomized ewes. Two groups of six ewes were fed a diet of either 1000 g/day (normal feeding) or 400-600 g/day (restricted feeding) hay for 20 weeks. Restricted feeding increased mean plasma GH concentrations and the amplitude of GH pulses, but did not affect GH pulse frequency. In contrast, mean plasma LH and FSH concentrations and LH pulse frequency were decreased by restricted feeding. Mean plasma PRL concentrations were unaffected by treatment. The levels of mRNA for GH in pituitary cytosol were increased by restricted feeding, but no changes were seen in mRNA levels of a-subunit, LHβ, FSHβ, or PRL. The pituitary contents of hormones measured did not change with the level of feeding. In conclusion, these data show that long term restricted feeding affects anterior pituitary function in adult ewes, presumably reflecting alterations in the secretion of hypothalamic releasing and inhibiting factors.