The use of feathers in veterinary clinical practice simplifies the sampling of avian genomic DNA, especially when blood extraction is difficult because of the age or the size of the bird. A rapid and accurate protocol was used to isolate high-quality genomic DNA from feathers. The technique includes a lysis step of the feather quill, which differs in temperature and time of incubation depending on the feather size. Purification of genomic DNA is performed with phenol : chloroform : isoamyl alcohol extraction and ethanol precipitation. This protocol consistently provided significant amounts of high-quality genomic DNA from more than 800 birds belonging to 120 different species. Genomic DNA isolated with this method was used for Southern blotting and also in several polymerase chain reaction systems devoted to sex determination and paternity testing.