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. ShariD76 October 21, 2017 8:52 pm Reply

    That’s amazing! We, too, have lived in the country, bordering the nearby town which is actually 3 miles south of us, at the northern edge near the Interstate which runs East/West across almost the whole country! Twenty miles or so, is the “big city” which serves as the major employer location for at least half the state’s population.

    Anyway, this has always been farm country, and for the past 27 years, we as a very vocal population of the tiny little town and its surrounding areas have managed to keep it that way! Oh, there have been the odd little housing developments tucked away here and there, but nothing enormous by any means. We are at this moment attempting (again) to fend off another attempt to turn 200 acres of land immediately behind MY house and very close to many other homes on both sides of our road, and a Middle School, into a gravel quarry! Of course, they talk pretty, and make all kinds of pretty promises, but we’ve heard it all before, and we’ve fended them all OFF before, too. They say in TWENTY years, they will have extracted all the available gravel, at which point they will turn the gaping holes into small lakes, and the dry land into a housing development, but who’s to say that anybody would be interested in doing it, or that the land will be appropriate for that use, or that they could sell the houses if they did build them? By that time, I’ll be 80, and may not even be here. BUT a lot of other things will be, like significantly decreased property values, dust and dirt by the ton, as they intend also to have their processing and storage facilities on the same piece of ground, which none of us care to live underneath for that long!

    OK, sorry to get off on a tangent, but right now it’s my major focus! As to mice, since our little area is surrounded by corn and/or soybean fields, depending on crop rotation schedules, we are also in the middle of Field Mouse Central! We usually don’t get bothered much that we can tell, anyway, until early Fall, like right now! In fact, we just started catching a few tonight. And, since we have no need of catching them outside – no real attractions out there for them – we get a few in the house from time to time. We can’t have cats in the house, due to my husband’s severe allergy to cats, so traps are our only option. I don’t care for poisons, as we have had dying mice crawl into the walls before, and start to stink. As I don’t wish to have any access at all to “sprung” traps, either visually, or by touch, we have found the perfect way to solve it so either of us can manage the disposal if necessary. The use of cheap, “disposable” plain wooden traps, brown paper lunch sacks, and a small supply of raisins – the “kiddie size” lunch box type are perfect. One of those usually does the trick.

    Raisins are the perfect bait, because you can really make them stick to the bait holder, so they can’t be licked off (i.e. peanut butter, otherwise effective) without springing the trap – done dozens of times by very dexterous mice, before we got wise to them! Or the old traditional cheese, which gets nibbled away, also without springing the trap! We were brainstorming the problem one evening, and suddenly raisins came to mind, and so far have been fool – and also mice – proof! Its never failed to work. They are plenty sticky, and plenty sweet and tempting!

    Now, you’re wondering about the paper lunch sack, I’m sure. Very similar to the box plan, except we usually don’t need to catch them in such quantity, or all in the same location most of the time. Our pantry, the size of a standard square coat closet, seems to be a favorite location, so we usually start there. The trap gets baited and set, and then inserted carefully into the bag, resting It along one long narrow side of the open bag, sort of like if you looked directly into the bag opening after it got loaded, it would be in “Portait” orientation, instead of on the wide, flat side, as in “Landscape” view. Then, it’s carefully set on the floor of the pantry, with the narrow trap-side on the floor, of course, and the bag opening facing the back, not the door, where light can enter easiest under the door. Then, close the door, and listen for the trap to spring! It only took an hour or so tonight to catch the first – and hopefully the last – one for a while. The bag, with the cheap trap, dead mouse, and probably most of the raisin still on said trap inside it, gets folded shut, tossed in the outside trash, and another is made ready, and set in its place! Voilà! Done, nobody has to handle an icky trap, I don’t have to see them, and everybody 💑 (except the mouses?🤔…meeces?..🤔.mice!😃) is happy, and the mouse population inside the house is kept at bay. 😆

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

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

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