Twin-bearing ewes were treated with epidermal growth factor (EGF) to determine its effect on mammogenesis and resultant milk production and composition. The EGF was infused intravenously at a dose rate of O5 mg/d in 300 ml saline between days 117 and 139 of gestation; control animals received placebo infusions of saline. All animals then received continuous infusions of 300 ml/d saline on days 139–144. Following parturition 1–5 d later, ewes were milked by hand for 10 d and thereafter were machine-milked until day 16 of lactation. At this level of treatment, EGF was not detected in the circulation during infusion and feed intake was not affected. All ewes gave birth to healthy twin lambs. There were no effects of EGF on birth weights of lambs, live weights of ewes or lengths of gestation. An EGF immunoreactive material was detected in the mammary secretions of control ewes at a mean concentration of 2 μg/l on day 1 of lactation. Two ewes had detectable levels on day 2, but none was found in the milk thereafter. In the EGF-infused group, concentrations of EGF in colostrum were ñ 10 times higher than in the control ewes on day 1 of lactation and EGF was detected in mammary secretions on day 2 but not in subsequent milk samples. A range of 0·3–0·5% of the EGF infused appeared in mammary secretions over the first 2 d of lactation. No other differences were observed for colostrum composition, subsequent milk yield or composition between the two groups of ewes indicating that mammary gland development and function were unaffected. The levels of EGF observed in the mammary secretions of treated and control ewes indicate that the mammary glands accumulate and store EGF in the pre partum period.