The Magical Mouse Box

The Magical Mouse Box is a simple solution we have been using for years to help control the mice population around our chicken coop and compost bins.  Build a few of these and your mice problem will magically disappear!

The Magic Mouse Box

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We live in the suburbs of a city.  The town we live in used to be pretty rural.  In fact when I was growing up our town was still the country.  Over the last 30 years the city has invaded pretty heavily, but our city council has done a fairly good job of defending the country feel of our town.  Most developments in our town require at least half acre lots and there really is a lot of farmland (or at least pasture land) around.  On top of that our city hasn’t allowed much development surrounding the Jordan river.  We live less than a half mile from the river so there is a lot of open land surrounding our neighborhood.  That means that we still get to enjoy some of the natural wildlife.  We have lots of migratory birds, birds of prey and even a small herd of deer.  But along with the good come the bad including raccoons, skunks and MICE!

Cats Always Help

Our first line of defense against mice in our house is Kiwi.  Yes you read that right Kiwi.  No we don’t spread tropical fruit all over our house, that’s the name of our cat!  Getting a house cat was the best thing we ever did to deal with mice coming in the house.  Since Kiwi joined the family we have only seen one mouse in the house and it was quickly dispatched by our feline friend!

The Magical Mouse Box 1

Liz over at suburban tomato and I had a discussion the other day about dealing with mouse problems in the garden.  I told her about the magical mouse box and promised to post a few pictures.  What makes our mouse boxes magical?  Mice go in the box in droves but they never come out!

The Magical Mouse Box

How the magical mouse box works

Mice love dark places with small entries.  They can’t resist checking out the dark confines of the magical mouse box.  All we have to do is keep the inside of the box well stocked with mouse traps and the rest takes care of itself.  The main advantage of the magical mouse box is we can place it anywhere in the yard and we don’t have to worry about the chickens or the cat accidentally getting caught in a trap.  We are not much for chemicals in our family, so the commercially available poisons make me nervous.  We are afraid to put out any poisons for fear that the chickens will eat them and die or even worse poison us through the eggs.

The Magical Mouse Box

Simple to Build

The magical mouse box is very simple; the bottom and top are made from 12’ x 12’ plywood or OSB.  The sides are 2×4’s; two are 12 inches long the other two are 8 inches.  Just off-set the short sides and you will have a 2 inch hole on each side.  Attach the sides to the bottom piece of plywood with some screws and use a simple hinge to attach the top.

The Magical Mouse Box

I put 4 mouse traps inside the box, two right by the entry holes.  No need to bait the traps they will crawl over them to get in.

The Magical Mouse Box

Location is important

I put the magical mouse box anywhere we have a mouse problem.  Chicken coops are mouse magnets and so are compost bins.  We have two boxes one stays in the area around the coop and compost bin.   The other gets moved around the yard as needed.  They work just as advertised, catching tons of mice.  Since we first put them out in the early fall we have caught 20 plus mice (most by the chicken coop).  The other day we noticed a mouse in the garage so I brought one box in and placed it close to where we had seen the mouse.  The next morning he was history!

The Magical Mouse Box

I think I first read about this idea in one of Elliot Coleman’s winter gardening books.  My 13 year old son built both of ours out of scrap we had laying around.  We maybe spent two dollars each on the materials and that includes the hinges.  It is a very simple and inexpensive solution to your mouse problems.

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  1. Jennie- Team Dean February 3, 2012 12:38 pm Reply

    awesome! thanks for this tip! simple is always better

  2. Alexis February 3, 2012 12:56 pm Reply

    This is brilliant! Thanks for sharing your ideas with the rest of us that prefer non-chemical alternatives to pest control around our poultry and pets.

  3. Ricki @ The Questionable Homesteader August 29, 2015 5:50 am Reply

    This is brilliant! I like you have a house cat, she spends the majority of her time in the house and only really goes out for an hour once a day (if that), although I’ve never seen her catch anything, I’ve also never seen a mouse in the house. I however have seen lots in the shed and garden. We also live on a half acre lot, with pasture land across the street so field mice are the norm here.
    I’m always leery about using poison, as I’m convinced that one of my pets will eat the rodent and get the poison. So this is perfect, best part, I think I have all the supplies I need to build them. I’m thinking I’ll make 3, one for the shed, and one for my mother and another for my sister (both of whom have mice problems). Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Mr. Stoney August 29, 2015 3:55 pm Reply

      Ricki, Glad I could help!!

      • Richie October 29, 2017 2:20 pm Reply

        Do you just throw away the box when you have caught the mice or are you supposed to put your hand in the box and clear the box of the dead mice and reuse the box ?

        • Mr. Stoney October 29, 2017 5:12 pm Reply

          Of course you reused the box. The ones we have are 7 years old now and just going strong. That’s why they have a lid, so you can easily get the used traps out and reset others. I fact you can reuse the traps too if you are okay getting rid of the mice.

  4. Amanda October 20, 2017 5:32 pm Reply

    Not necessarily for catching mice, however we had to be creative in catch some raccoons without catch all the neighbors cats. We began baiting our traps with marshmallows. I’m assuming it catches their attention due to resemblance of an egg, but 28 coons in 29 can attest to its power.

    • ShariD76 October 21, 2017 7:22 pm Reply

      What kind of traps are you baiting for raccoons? I can see why marshmallows would be tempting, with the resemblance to eggs, but what are you using for traps? Raccoons are huge! I’ve yet to see one smaller than the average housecat.

      • Amanda October 22, 2017 7:24 am Reply

        We use a standard raccoon trap that we purchased from the feed store. It has a trap door on one side, with a pressure plate on the other. When then go across the plate, it triggers the door closed and they are trapped.

  5. PowellFunnyFarm October 27, 2017 9:23 am Reply

    We have caught lots of racoons and possums in these traps using cat food, which they love, but also several silly hens, who also love the cat food. The “marshmallow” idea is great! Thanks.

  6. Dee November 11, 2017 4:38 pm Reply

    I hot glue dog kibble to the trap. Nine times out of ten you get them with their mouth open on the kibble.

    • Wavs February 1, 2018 6:30 am Reply

      That’s a great idea.

  7. Beth Watson November 22, 2017 7:25 am Reply

    I made one (and still working) years ago. I bait mine with peanut butter.

  8. Theresa December 3, 2017 6:50 pm Reply

    Has anyone tried these to catch rats or chipmunks?

    • Mr. Stoney December 3, 2017 8:36 pm Reply

      I haven’t tried that, but I would think it would still work. You would just need to make the box taller to allow for clearance for a larger trap.

    • GeoAZ January 11, 2018 3:53 pm Reply

      I have a trap I made from scrap plywood and a few odds and ends. Plywood “tube” about 8″ square and 16″ long … 1/4″ screen on one end sliding trap door on the other. Used all kids of bait … including none. Rats are curious and will go into the trap with no bait. Caught 25 rats last year.

      • Todd L Reinke January 11, 2018 7:54 pm Reply

        Ok thanks

      • MtnHarmony January 30, 2018 6:41 pm Reply

        GeoAz – any chance you have a link to a picture or anything? Having trouble visualizing what you mean.

  9. Ba January 9, 2018 11:45 pm Reply

    My mom used a piece of snikers bar it worked every time!

  10. Todd January 11, 2018 10:30 am Reply

    That’s a great idea. How many can you catch in a day or week?

    • Mr. Stoney January 11, 2018 12:39 pm Reply

      Totally depends on the time of year. In the fall when the mice are thinking about moving “indoors” I get a lot. I keep one in my garden during the summer and get several during the year. We don’t have chickens right now, but when we did, we kept one in the coop and caught them daily, until the population dropped!!

  11. Bmene January 18, 2018 11:24 am Reply

    Great idea and trap. Isn’t the entrances a little big tho?

    • Mr. Stoney January 18, 2018 5:09 pm Reply

      They seem to work fine as is, but you could certainly make them smaller.

  12. Phil January 28, 2018 6:13 am Reply

    Once the first mouse is caught in the trap at the entrance do the rest that follow just crawl over them??

    • Mr. Stoney January 28, 2018 9:27 am Reply

      Yep, there have been times when I have found 4 mice in the trap, more often just 2 at the entrances, but at the first of the season I will often have 3 or 4 mice at a time.

  13. Earl February 2, 2018 4:39 pm Reply

    Do any chickens ever stick their head in? I can see why you would not place any food bait there.

    • Mr. Stoney February 2, 2018 5:25 pm Reply

      We have never had a problem with them sticking their heads in, but I wouldn’t put it past them. That’s why you need to make the openings fairly small.

  14. RL Wilh February 10, 2018 3:14 pm Reply

    I may do this and use sticky glue traps!!!

  15. Esther February 18, 2018 1:36 am Reply

    I’m making this tomorrow, but jumbo-sizing it. My neighbor & I have shared custody of Frank, a roof rat the size of a small cat. This little jerk has evaded baited rat traps, so It’s time to declare war….

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