Or, 17 500 Uses for a Dead Ratite

Ostriches On Line are possibly the world's leading supplier of all things ostrich related. Whether you desire pelleted ostrich feed or feather boas, they are the company to meet your needs, and those of your emu or other ratite. They'll even fill your belly with ostrich jerky.

With 17 500 product lines, they have every conceivable product you can make from a dead flightless bird. Who would have thought an ostrich had so many uses? They sell burgers, steaks, sausages, hotdogs, roasting joints, empty eggshells, ostrich feather fans, quill pens, ostrich-leather Parker biros, ostrich oil lip balm, feather dusters, hand-held masquerade ball masks, coats, cellphone covers, key-rings, belts, briefcases, and a wide range of boas. They also provide products from other birds including Marabou stork, guinea fowl, pheasant, swan, peacock, turkey and sheep.

Accessories range from recipe books to feather dyeing kits, plush soft toys and lithographs. To care for your ostriches they offer pre-mixed feed, nutrients, probiotics and vitamin and mineral supplements, as well as egg incubators, videos on ostrich farming and software to manage your ostrich-rearing enterprise. One particularly useful tool is the Hoodwink Ostrich Catcher, which replaces the traditional approach of grabbing your bird by the beak and stuffing a sock over its head.

The company was formed in the early 1990s as ratite farming began to become popular worldwide. Initially ostrich farms were promoted as get-rich-quick ventures, but gradually a more responsible approach prevailed. Ostriches On Line is based in Manchester, England and Chicago, Illinois, USA, with agents on five continents, and boasts 16 500 satisfied customers around the world.

"Ostriches On Line are dedicated to the world-wide advancement of the ostrich industry through ethical agriculture, education, promotion and sound business philosophies", their mission statement begins1.

Now I'm off to buy some ostrich massage oil (extracted from the rich coat of fat beneath an ostrich's skin) and a retractable ostrich duster.

Disclaimer: I have no connection with Ostriches On Line or the ostrich industry in general. I do not condone the killing of ostriches for their meat, feathers, skin or inexpressible essence of ostrichness. I just think they're kind of funny-looking.

1 Ostriches On Line, Ostriches On Line, 1996-2003, <http://www.ostrichesonline.com/general/ool.html> (17 January 2003), Mission Statement.

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