Intracranial perfusion of ovine prolactin (oPrl) via osmotic pump in laying turkey hens caused a sudden onset in incubation behavior, defined as an increase in nest visits. The hens also displayed a gradual decrease in egg laying during the time they were receiving oPrl, another indicator of the onset of incubation. Circulating immunoreactive turkey Prl levels fell during the perfusion period, even though the hens were displaying persistent nesting activity and reduced egg laying. No effects on serum LH were noted. Perfusion of oPrl during the first 14 days of photostimulation delayed the onset of egg laying by several days. No effects on serum Prl or serum LH were noted. It is suggested that incubation behavior is facilitated by central levels of Prl.