Six dairy cows were treated before milkings with either oxytocin (Pitocin, 20 i.u.) or ACTH (Synacthen, 150 i.u.), principally to determine their effect on the ratio of citrate:lactoferrin concentrations in the milk. With ACTH treatment, after 3 d milk yield and citrate concentration decreased significantly, lactoferrin and bovine serum albumin (BSA) concentrations increased significantly. Somatic cell counts (SCC) increased temporarily in the milk of three of the cows which previously had > 100000 cells/ml. Lactoferrin yield remained fairly constant but citrate yield was significantly reduced. The citrate: lactoferrin molar ratio decreased from 1373 to 606. With oxytocin treatment, after 4 d milk yield first increased and then significantly decreased, citrate concentration decreased significantly while there were no significant changes in lactoferrin or BSA concentration or in the yield of any other milk constituents. The citrate: lactoferrin molar ratio decreased from 1621 to 1301. There were no significant changes in SCC either during treatment or 4 d after treatment but there was a significant rise at 16 d after treatment. It was concluded that in lactating cows both hormones affected citrate and lactoferrin concentrations in the direction that would improve the antibacterial properties of milk, but that this was accompanied by adverse effects on milk secretion. The extent of the change was not sufficient to be likely to produce inhibition of coliform bacteria.