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How To Set An Old School Mouse Trap

With my chicken coop, I had signs that I had a mouse infestation because there were mouse droppings present when I would clean it out. I had ignored it for a bit hoping the chickens would just eat the mice but I must have vegetarian chickens. So I decided to buckle down and buy some traps.

I prefer the simple, cheap, old school traps. I've tried a few other contraptions but nothing beats the cost and effectiveness of the old school method. Given the amount of time that had elapsed, I figured I might have a family so bought eight traps figuring that would be plenty. I set them using the method below and as I'd catch one, I'd repeat the process.

Well, I set the first one and caught one no problem. Then a second the next day, and again no problem. Then a third, then fourth, then I kept catching them. Before too long, I blew through all eight traps! Back to Home Depot I went. I bought another eight just to be sure.

Then caught number 9, 10, 11, 12. Sheesh, still no end to this and time to open another package of traps. Then caught #13 for a baker's dozen and it appears to have finally stopped! Trap #14 has been sitting outside for a week now without it triggering.

It was insane! I had no idea I had 13 mice living around the chicken coop. What was amazing was how effective my method was. Out of 13 traps I set, I only had one false snap that didn't catch a mouse. All the other times I set one, I caught a mouse. Plus there was one trap that caught two mice! Unbelievable! Sorry for anyone who is queasy but I had to post the picture below as proof. 

So when you find yourself with mouse problems, buy some old school traps and follow these steps:

  • Remove the staple that holds the long arm to the base.
  • Grab some peanut butter and spread it on the trap plate. Be sure to push some under the bend.
  • Then grab a thin piece of sturdy food like a slivered almond, rolled oats, cheese slice, popcorn piece, or anything else.
  • Stuff that food into the bend. This nearly guarantees that the trap will go off when the mouse is in the right spot. I've tried just using peanut butter, and the mice have been able to delicately lick it off. I've also tried stuffing the food without the peanut butter and it doesn't attract the mice like peanut butter does. So a combo of both is what is needed.
  • Then pull the spring trap lever back. Place the long arm over the lever and attach it to the little cut out near the trap plate. This is what holds the lever in place.
  • Hold the trap with the plate facing away from you in case you inadvertently set it off while placing the trap.
  • Put it gently in a hidden spot where you know the mice will find it but other animals like your chickens and dogs won't be able to get to it.
  • Then monitor once or twice a day. When you catch one, throw it out and set another one until you no longer catch any more.
Hopefully these steps work for you as well as they did for me. And let's hope you don't have anywhere close to the baker's dozen like I had.