What non-human/cat/dog food to use to bait a mousetrap?

We need to bait no-kill mousetraps. Since the mice have never really ventured into living spaces (the pantry in particular), we don’t want to use traditional peanut butter or dried fruit because we’d hate to give trap-evading mice a penchant for peanut butter. Does Purina Mouse Chow have an attractive scent or is it a basic food for pet mice that have little other choice—the mouse equivalent of MREs? Would wild birdseed attract them? Suggestions?
Disclaimers: We are not going to use poison or kill traps. We know we’ll have to put them in a mouseapult or tratbuchet and launch them at least five miles from the house. The food areas are kept meticulously clean and there have been no signs (droppings, chewed containers, etc.) of mice repeatedly visiting those areas. We have cats that culled the herd to a small number of careful mice.

Cracked corn or birdseed would work.

Make sure you are dedicated to checking the trap. I once had an employee object to my use of snap traps at work. I bought a live trap and showed her how it operated, as this was going to be her responsibility. At some point she forgot about the trap. I noticed an odor one day and found a horrific situation where the trap contained six mice and mouse parts. Once the food was gone they begin eating each other, eventually all starving.

I went back to snap traps.

You have to watch out for The Donner Mice.

It almost has more to do with how you place the traps rather than what bait you use. If you put traps in the right position (against the wall, along trails where the mice run), they will often run right in without any bait. To determine the trails, you can get a UV light and look for a series of small spots that flash up under the UV. That’s mouse urine, which they drip almost continually as they run. place the traps along these trails, and you’ll likely get mice even without bait.

Birdseed sounds like the way to go—when we have it, it’s not kept inside.

We know where some of their runs are, but the narrow ledge prevents putting traps in their way. There is a shelf pretty close though, so hopefully it will work.

We’ll be checking them every day; we certainly won’t be a party to that.

Seed is highly attractive to mice.

During my assignment to an Army fort(and living in on-post military family housing), I was issued a ziplock bag of grass seed to fill in the patchy spots in the lawn. I used about 1/2 in the spring and put the rest away in the shed. When I came back to the bag, I found a small hole in the corner of the bag and a dessicated mouse mummy buried in the remaining seed. Lil’ guy chewed his way in and presumably ate some of the seed, I guess. Don’t know how he died, but suffocation seems a likely suspect.

Jelly belly jelly beans. Fragrant and when squashed onto the trap food holder the mouse has to really work to get it off thus setting off the trap unlike cheese which can be stolen and peanut butter which can be licked off. Works like crazy.

Hardware stores sell Mouse attractant, blue goo that is used as bait. I’ve had great success with it. A small quantity is all you need.

Sounds like an opportunity you can’t pass up.

There’s a farm around here that sells steer meat that’s unfit for human consumption. To be on the safe side, I’ll leave a can of bull inside the trap.

Actually, that blue goo mouse attractant is perfect—it was the long shot, I’ll-ask-the-Dope-just-in-case answer I was hoping for!

Jeez, I hope you handed her the damn trap first. Ugh.

Cat food that comes in the small cans would work as bait. So will seeds. I have used the 5 gal bucket trap with the roller. It works well and you do not have to re-bait.

Why would you not want a dead mouse?

Fails OP’s “not human food” criterion. Yes, effective, but OP’s trying to avoid training mice to be attracted to any food likely to be around the house for human consumption, so following your advice is condemning OP to an existence without the pleasures of Jelly Belly jelly beans. And that’s just mean. :mad: