Neuropeptide Y (NPY) plays a key role in both food intake and GnRH secretion. Food deprivation elevates hypothalamic NPY activity and suppresses LH and gonadal steroid secretion. Similarly, lactation up-regulates NPY expression as food consumption increases and estrous cycles cease. These observations suggest that NPY coordinates reproductive suppression in response to energy deficiency; if so, the reproductive axis of NPY knockout (KO) mice should be impervious to lactation and food deprivation. We monitored food consumption, body weight, and estrous cyclicity during lactation in NPY KO mice with large and small litters. NPY KO mice with either litter size resembled wild types (WTs) in weight regulation and food consumption. Large-litter mothers had longer anestrous periods and smaller pups at weaning, but NPY KOs and WTs did not differ in either respect. We also examined the LH response of NPY KO mice to 48 h without food. Basal levels of LH in ovariectomized NPY KO animals decreased in response to fasting, but LH levels in intact and estrogen-treated ovariectomized NPY KO animals did not. In contrast, WTs consistently showed fasting-induced suppression of LH. Our findings suggest that other systems can sustain the hyperphagia of lactation and NPY alone is not responsible for suppressing cyclicity during lactation. Nevertheless, the suppression of basal LH release that accompanies food deprivation in normal female mice appears to require the steroid-dependent actions of NPY.