The effects of nutrition on patterns of live-weight change, hair follicle activity, moult, hormone profiles and associated activities of monodeiodinase enzyme types II and III (MDII and MDIII) in cashmere goats were investigated. From 1 week before the winter solstice (mid December), one group of 15 animals was given a ration designed to provide 2·0 × live weight maintenance requirements (high; H) while a second, similar, group was given 0·8 × live weight maintenance requirements (low; L). After approximately 3 months, L animals had significantly lower mean live weights (P<0·01) than H animals. This was associated with lower (P<0·05) overall mean hair follicle activity in L than H animals during the March to May period and a lower overall mean moult score during March and April in L animals (P<0·01) but a similar mean date of moult onset. Mean concentrations of all of the hormones measured exhibited significant changes (P<0·01) with date of sampling. Overall mean concentrations of insulin, tri-iodothyronine and thyroxine did not differ with treatment but, compared with L animals, H animals exhibited higher mean concentrations of prolactin in April and May (P<0·05) and of insulin-like growth factor-1 in December and January (P<0·001). Rates of activity of MDII and MDIII in skin differed with date (P<0·001) but were not significantly affected by nutritional treatment. The MDIII/MDII ratio differed (P=0·05) with month but was significantly higher (P<0·05) in L than H animals in January, only. It is concluded that the reduction in hair follicle activity and the slower onset of moult associated with reduced nutrition were unlikely to be controlled, directly, by differences in activities of MDII or MDIII in skin tissue.