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1. One of the light, flat growths forming the plumage of birds, consisting of numerous slender, closely arranged parallel barbs forming a vane on either side of a horny, tapering, partly hollow shaft.
2. A feathery tuft or fringe of hair, as on the legs or tail of some dogs.
To grow feathers or become feathered.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


any of the flat light waterproof epidermal structures forming the plumage of birds, several types of which form the body covering of birds. The principal types of feather are remex (wing feather); rectrice (tail feather); CONTOUR FEATHER (covering the outside of the bird); DOWN (the soft covering to the body); filoplume (hairlike feathers bearing a few barbs at the apex, occurring between the contour feathers). Feathers consist of a central RACHIS that supports BARBS which, except in down feathers, are connected to form a lamella by means of BARBULES. Feathers are now also known to have occurred in some Theropod DINOSAURS (Coelurosaurs) which have recently been excavated in China, and even Tyrannosaurus may have possessed feathers at some stage in its life cycle.
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005

Patient discussion about feather

Q. can you be allergic to goose feathers?? do you get an allergic reaction even through the pillow cover??? If not- I don't know what it is but something in my bed is giving me a rash...

A. i had a similar problem. i just couldn't sleep in my bed and every day i changed one thing to see what is the cause. then i found that one of the pillows causes it and probably from dust mites. you can easily be allergic to goose feathers that can pass through the pillow cover. all you have to do is replace it and see if something changed.

More discussions about feather
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References in periodicals archive ?
The diagnosis was an infraorbital keratin cyst, likely originating from a feather follicle.
This paper, therefore, presents some values for feather follicle development of the Jilin White goose in China.
The wound was first observed 2 weeks before presentation and appeared to be associated with one of the digit feather follicles. The owners began treating the toe lesion at home with a combination of systemic and topical antibiotic therapies (a store-bought, penicillin-based injectable product and topical, dilute iodine lavage).
(5) This allows the virus to be carried to various organs in the body, including peripheral nerves, skin, and feather follicles. Infected lymphocytes in the nerves and viscera transform and proliferate, resulting in lymphoid tumors.
(6,7) There is also one report of cutaneous pox involving feather follicles around the uropygial glands in mynah birds (.Acridotheres cristatellus).
The birds were placed under general anesthesia, and a diode laser was used to ablate the primary feather follicles of the previously pinioned wing.
Occasionally, primary feather follicles may remain at the surgical site, leading to abnormal feather growth, feather follicle cysts, or ingrown feathers.
Melanins, on the other hand, are synthesized by in the birds' bodies in special cells called "melanocytes," which work together with feather follicles to achieve a fine control of pigmentation.
Histopathologic examination revealed generalized loss of feather follicles and numerous intracorneal mites.
The plumage, skin and eye colour of birds are mainly determined by the relative content and distribution of eumelanin and phaeomelanin, which is produced by melanocytes present in the epithelium, iris, and feather follicles of birds.
Improper wing trimming can lead to damaged feather follicles, and can cause the bird discomfort, which can either aggravate feather plucking or cause the habit to form.
For years, it's been assumed that bacteria enter empty feather follicles during poultry processing.