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Enslaved by Ducks (2003)

by Bob Tarte

Series: Enslaved by Ducks (Book 1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6013639,268 (3.46)63
Biography & Autobiography. Pets. Nonfiction. Humor (Nonfiction.) HTML:

From the author of Fowl Weather comes "a laugh-out-loud chronicle" of household pets who slowly but surely overrun the house (Marty Becker, DVM, Good Morning America).
When Bob Tarte and his wife Linda brought a rabbit into their rural Michigan home, they didn't anticipate how it might upset their tranquil lives. But even after the bunny chewed through their electrical wiring, their household menagerie kept growing. Soon, Bob found himself constructing cages, buying feed, clearing duck waste, and spoon-feeding an assortment of furry and feathery residents. He unwittingly became a servant to a relentlessly demanding family. "They dumbfounded him, controlled and teased him, took their share of his flesh, [and] stole his heart" (Kirkus Reviews).
In this loving memoir of the joy and madness of living with animals, Bob offers "dead-on character portraits, [and] keeps readers laughing about unreliable pet store proprietors, a duck named Hector who doesn't like water, an amorous dove named Howard, a foster-mother goose, patient veterinarians and increasingly bewildered friends" (Publishers Weekly).

.… (more)
  1. 10
    The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden by William Alexander (sweetbug)
    sweetbug: The two books are similar in tone and themes: both are mildly humorous works by middle-aged men living on small hobby farms in rural(ish) America.
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» See also 63 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
I like Tarte's style if writing and his sense of humor. Because of that, I enjoyed this story about how his life became filled with a variety of temperamental pets - mostly birds.

I flew through the first half but then it just felt like a repetitious slog. Nothing had changed with the quality of writing or the content but I had reached my saturation point and I was bored.

( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
There is one thing you cannot always predict, and that’s the nature and character of the animals you choose as pets. This is a somewhat humorous memoir of the author and his wife's experience in learning and establishing pet care routines, crazy rituals, and the feeding preferences of an assortment of pets: rabbits, an assortment of birds, geese, and ducks, turkeys, all on THEIR terms.

It started with a purchase of an unruly rabbit, and before they knew it, they had pretty much turned their home and property into a rescue home for wayward, orphaned critters when they became too much for other people to handle. I would have to say they were enslaved by more than just ducks. It read like a house full of pure chaos, and I can't even imagine the cost, the filth and the stench from all these birds and rabbits indoors, but I sure do admire their tenacity for sticking to it even through all the rough times. ( )
  MissysBookshelf | Aug 27, 2023 |
I had this for a long time. I read it for a science/nature book challenge that seems to be all in my head. It was amusing and touching at times, but there was a lot of effort to be flippant and that got a little tiring.
  franoscar | Jan 19, 2023 |
Even though I'm more of a dog person, I enjoyed this book about a couple and their many pets, mostly birds. I like true animal stories, especially when the author actually is a writer and not just a pet owner who has an interesting story. Bob Tarte anthropomorphizes each duck, turkey, parrot, etc. with affection and dry wit. Several times, I had to stop and read passages aloud my husband. I never knew birds had so much personality. I did know that about rabbits, and the chapters about the Tartes' pet rabbits made me nostalgic for my old attack bunny, Picolino.
This book came highly recommended by a friend and it was worthy of the praise. ( )
  Harks | Dec 17, 2022 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. ( )
  Karen74Leigh | Jan 18, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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To my wonderful wife, Linda, who somehow keeps the chaos at bay.
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After living so long in the city, I felt peculiar at the farmhouse in Lowell.
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Biography & Autobiography. Pets. Nonfiction. Humor (Nonfiction.) HTML:

From the author of Fowl Weather comes "a laugh-out-loud chronicle" of household pets who slowly but surely overrun the house (Marty Becker, DVM, Good Morning America).
When Bob Tarte and his wife Linda brought a rabbit into their rural Michigan home, they didn't anticipate how it might upset their tranquil lives. But even after the bunny chewed through their electrical wiring, their household menagerie kept growing. Soon, Bob found himself constructing cages, buying feed, clearing duck waste, and spoon-feeding an assortment of furry and feathery residents. He unwittingly became a servant to a relentlessly demanding family. "They dumbfounded him, controlled and teased him, took their share of his flesh, [and] stole his heart" (Kirkus Reviews).
In this loving memoir of the joy and madness of living with animals, Bob offers "dead-on character portraits, [and] keeps readers laughing about unreliable pet store proprietors, a duck named Hector who doesn't like water, an amorous dove named Howard, a foster-mother goose, patient veterinarians and increasingly bewildered friends" (Publishers Weekly).

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When Bob Tarte bought a house in rural Michigan, he was counting on a tranquil haven. Then Bob married Linda. She wanted a rabbit, which seemed, at the time, innocuous enough. But that was just the beginning. "Wouldn't a parrot be cute?" Linda said. Bob suddenly found himself constructing pens, buying feed, clearing duck waste, spoonfeeding at mealtime. One day he realized he'd become a servant to a relentlessly demanding family, and a motley crew it was. Writing as someone who's been ambushed by the way in which animals, even cranky ones, can wend their way into the heart, Bob Tarte reveals the truth of animal ownership - and who really owns whom.
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Average: (3.46)
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