Tammy left a comment over in our post on training mini pigs to climb stairs. Tammy is having problems litter training her miniature pig and that’s hardly the first time I’ve heard that lament with miniature pigs and other animals. Compounding the problem is that Tammy’s mini pig also likes to eat its litter! Oh my. Rather than write an extended comment in response, I thought it might be best to devote an entire post to the topic as I’m sure there are others out there with the same problem.
Tammy, your real problem here is that your pig is eating litter. If it is the clumping type, this could cause very serious digestive issues for your pig. I strongly recommend against commercial litter. Use pine shavings. If you absolutely must use commercial litter, never use the kind that clumps. I’ll go into alternatives to cat litter later in this post.
Believe it or not, even the most litter box friendly pet, the cat, isn’t born knowing how to use a litter box. Cats actually learn to use a litter box from their mothers. Absent that, they must be trained by their humans. The good news is that pigs have some habits that can work in your favor when it comes to litter training. They prefer to do their business in specific locations, for one thing.
Tammy’s problem is that her mini pig would rather eat the litter than use it for its intended purpose. So the first step is to try to break her pig of that habit. The next is to try to teach it what the box is for. We might actually be able to kill two birds with one stone here, Tammy. Again, before we start, never use clumping litter for your mini pigs.read more information about training a micro pigs at http://miniaturepigsguide.com/help-miniature-pig-wont-go-stairs/
Start by collecting some of your pig’s feces from outside or wherever it did its business and put that in the litter box. The presence of feces in the litter will hopefully dissuade your pig from using the litter box as a buffet while also getting the point across that the litter box is where poop belongs! If your pig eats around the feces, try to put a fairly generous amount of piggy’s poop in the litter so there aren’t any notable bare patches on which he or she can dine.
If piggy still eats from the box, try sprinkling the zest from a lemon (the peel, not actual lemon juice) over the top of the litter. If your pig enjoys the taste of citrus peel, skip that step and try a commercial bitter product such as Bitter Apple spray. Try using a non-clumping litter and spray Bitter Apple over the surface. Mini pigs have sensitive noses and the smell alone may turn your pig off of the idea of eating its litter.
Tammy mentioned that she has also tried various litters without luck. Apparently her pig does not have the most discerning taste in the world. But remember that you aren’t limited to commercial litter. Sand, pine wood shavings, even shredded newspaper can all serve as absorbent substitutes for commercial litter and may be less appetizing to a mini pig. Keep experimenting. Though some options may mean more frequent litter box …