There are major changes in ciruclating luteinizing hormone (LH), prolactin (PRL), estrogens (E), and progesterone (P) in relation to the onset of reproduction, egg laying, incubation, and care of young. LH levels increase in the prelaying period, followed some days later by increased circulating levels of E, P, and PRL. Levels of these hormones tend to stabilize during egg laying with periodic ovulatory cycle changes. Around the onset of incubation PRL levels increase, while LH, E, and P levels fall. During incubation PRL reaches very high levels, falling sharply when incubation is terminated. Stimulatory effects of hypothalamic neurotransmitters, peptides, and ovarian steroids on PRL secretion have been shown. The prelaying increase is dependent on E and P and the high levels of incubation require a functional serotonergic system. The causal relationships and roles of PRL in incubation of gallinaceous birds are, however, still unclear.