The purpose of this study was to examine the role of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) in prolactin (PRL) release in young turkey poults. Poults obtained from hens immunized with keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH)-chicken VIP (cVIP-KLH) conjugate or with KLH alone were used in this study. Plasma VIP antibody was tested by means of monoiodinated cVIP. Plasma samples were prediluted (1:100) in 0.05 EDTA PBS and used as a source of primary antibody in a cVIP-binding assay. Antibody levels averaged 50.8 ± 10.3% at hatch and then declined with age to a level of 5.0 ± 2.1% after 3 wk. Plasma PRL concentration was lower in cVIP-KLH-immunized poults (p < 0.05) than in KLH- immunized birds. Exogenous VIP administration at 7 days of age (7.8 μg/kg) increased plasma PRL level (p < 0.05) to a peak value of 359 ± 32 ng/ml in the KLH-immunized birds. A smaller increase (p < 0.05) was obtained when the KLH-immunized poults received injections at 2 and 3 wk of age. The PRL response to cVIP administration was not observed in 1- and 2-wk-old poults maternally immunized with cVIP-KLH. Similarly, electrical stimulation of the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus, at 1 and 8 days of age, induced a significant increase in the plasma PRL level of maternally KLH-immunized birds but not in maternally cVIP-KLH-immunized birds. These findings suggest that cVIP is a PRL-releasing factor in young turkey poults, similar to the finding in adult turkey hens.