The stomach hormone ghrelin and hypothalamic melanocortin neurons belong to a gut-brain circuit controlling appetite and metabolic homeostasis. Mice lacking melanocortin-3 receptor (Mc3rKO) or growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GhsrKO) genes exhibit attenuated food anticipatory activity (FAA), a rise in locomotor activity anticipating mealtime, suggesting common circuitry regulating anticipatory responses to nutrient loading. To investigate the interaction between Ghsrs and Mc3rs, we compared food anticipatory responses in GhsrKO, Mc3rKO, and double Ghsr;Mc3r knockout (DKO) mice subjected to a hypocaloric restricted feeding (RF) protocol in constant dark or 12-hour light, 12-hour dark settings. DKO are viable, exhibiting no overt behavioral or metabolic phenotypes in ad libitum or fasting conditions. FAA was initially attenuated in all mutant strains in constant darkness. However, GhsrKO eventually exhibited a robust food anticipatory response, suggesting compensation. Mc3rKO and DKO did not compensate, indicating a continued requirement for Mc3rs in maintaining the expression of FAA in situations of RF. Abnormal regulation of hypothalamic agouti-related peptide/neuropeptide Y (AgRP/Npy) neurons previously observed during fasting may contribute to attenuated FAA in Mc3rKO. AgRP and Npy expression measured 1 hour before food presentation correlated positively with FAA. Absence of Mc3rs (but not Ghsrs) was associated with lower AgRP/Npy expression, suggesting attenuated responses to signals of negative energy balance. These observations support the importance of Mc3rs as modulators of anticipatory responses to feeding, with mice able to compensate for loss of Ghsrs. The behavioral deficits of Mc3rKO displayed during RF may be partially explained by reduced hunger sensations owing to abnormal regulation of orexigenic AgRP/Npy neurons.