This study was conducted to determine if lower steroid secretion by the small white follicles in incubating turkey hens contributes to lower circulating steroid concentrations during this time. Turkey hens were grouped as either laying or incubating. Serum samples and the ovarian small white follicles (SWF; 2-7 mm diameter) were collected from each hen. The SWF were pooled for each group and their cells were dispersed by trypsin digestion. Serum-luteinizing hormone (LH), progesterone (P), testosterone (T), and estradiol (E) concentrations were lower and serum prolactin concentration was higher during incubation than during egg laying. SWF cells from incubating hens secreted more P and T and less E in response to ovine luteinizing hormone (oLH) than did similar cell suspensions from laying hens. The incubating hens' SWF cells' capacity to secrete E but not their capacity to secrete P or T in vitro is consistent with the observed circulating levels. It is hypothesized that lower levels of circulating LH and/or higher levels of prolactin found in incubating hens may have a depressing effect on aromatase activity and/or an up-regulating effect on LH-induced P and T secretion by the SWF cells.