We live in the suburbs of Salt Lake City Utah. 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!
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!
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!
Mice love dark places with small entries. They can’t resist checking out the dark confines of the 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 box is we can place it anywhere in the yard and we don’t have to worry about the chickens or the cat accidently 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 box is very simple; the bottom and top are made from 12’ x 12’ plywood. 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.
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.
I put these boxes 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!
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.