RFamide-related peptide-3 (RFRP-3), the mammalian ortholog of gonadotropin-inhibiting hormone, has been implicated as a mediator between reproduction and energy balance. This study aimed to investigate the physiological effects of RFRP-3 on the process of ovarian development in food-restricted pre-pubertal ewes. The results showed that food restriction significantly inhibited the ovarian development and follicular growth. The data of qPCR in the hypothalamic–pituitary–ovarian (HPO) axis showed that food restriction not only upregulated RFRP-3 mRNA expression but also downregulated the mRNA expression of gonadotropin-releasing-hormone receptor, follicle-stimulating hormone receptor and luteinizing hormone receptor (LHR). Immunohistochemistry of RFRP-3 in the ovaries suggested that RFRP-3 may regulate the follicular development. These results suggested that the changes of RFRP-3 in response to food restriction might influence the HPO axis and inhibit ovarian development.