Can guinea pigs eat corn?
Which parts of corn are safe and which aren’t?
How about health benefits, risks, and how often to feed them?
This post covers everything you need to know about corn for guinea pigs.
Related: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Potatoes?
Can guinea pigs eat corn?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat corn—corn packs adequate carbohydrates, fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, calcium, and phosphorous.
However, due to the high amounts of calories and carbs, feeding your cavies too much corn could lead to obesity.
It’s best served together with hay, veggies, pellets, and other beneficial food that guinea pigs should eat.
Can guinea pigs eat cooked corn?
No, they shouldn’t. Cooking alters the composition of corn, or any other food, making it of less nutritional value to guinea pigs.
Also, if the food is too hot, it may cause burns and sores in your guinea pig’s mouth.
Which parts of corn should guinea pigs eat?
Guinea pigs can eat all parts of corn, including the kernel, corn silk, husk, leaves, and stalk.
If possible, you can offer the whole corn plant and let your cavies munch on all parts on their own, but cut it into smaller chunks to prevent choking – when feeding corn silks, avoid the red or brownish silks since they are overgrown.
Can guinea pigs eat canned corn?
No, they shouldn’t. Canning involves adding additives such as salt and sodium, which are harmful to guinea pigs.
Always stick to raw fresh corn for safety and optimum health benefits.
Can guinea pigs eat corn flakes?
Yes, cavies can eat corn flakes, but only in small amounts since they don’t have much nutritional value for cavies.
Corn flakes consist of toasted maize, barley, wheat, and other dried cereal, which is mostly safe for guinea pigs.
However, they are sometimes sweetened with sugars, vitamin supplements, and other additives, which are not always suitable for guinea pigs.
While corn flakes are often accompanied by milk, avoiding feeding your cavies milk or any other dairy products since they are lactose intolerant.
Can guinea pigs eat cracked corn?
No, they shouldn’t. Cracked is a dried form of corn, and it’s not safe for guinea pigs since it’s too hard and could destroy their teeth, and it presents a choking hazard if they attempt to swallow it.
Cracked corn is also too challenging for their fragile digestive systems to digest.
Can guinea pigs have corn on the cob?
Yes, they can. The cob is the central part that holds the kernels.
Even though it doesn’t have as many nutrients as the raw kernels or the leaves, the cob still makes an excellent chewing treat for your cavies.
But not all guinea pigs will manage to chew on the corn cob, so make sure your get rid of it as you clean the cage.
Can guinea pigs eat baby corn?
Yes, they can, but in moderation. Baby corn is not always as nutritious as mature corn, but it’s softer, and guinea pigs will not have an issue eating the whole of it.
Can guinea pigs eat popcorn?
No, they shouldn’t. Popcorn is a processed/cooked food containing salt, flavors, and other additives that aren’t suitable for a guinea pig’s digestive system.
Can guinea pigs eat cornmeal?
No, they shouldn’t. Cornmeal is a processed food containing oils and salts that may be harmful to guinea pigs.
Is corn good for guinea pigs?
Also referred to as maize, corn is a popular starchy vegetable and staple food to many communities worldwide.
It’s known for its natural sugar content and is eaten in various forms, including canned, cooked, popcorn, grilled, etc. But is it suitable for guinea pigs? Yes, it is.
Please keep reading to find out the benefits of corn in your piggy’s diet.
According to WebMD, corn is a good source of Vitamin C, an essential antioxidant that guinea pigs need from their diet.
Vitamin C helps in fighting diseases, maintaining vascular integrity, and facilitating the healing of wounds.
Guinea pigs need a lot of dietary Vitamin C since their bodies cannot produce it or store it.
Carbs and fiber
Corn is also very rich in carbs and fiber. Carbs are essential in maintaining ideal energy levels, while fiber helps in digestion and in maintaining gut health.
Besides Vitamin C, corn also contains antioxidants such as Vitamins B, E, K, and carotenoids, all-important in minimizing the occurrences of chronic diseases such as heart diseases, cancer, etc.
Corn is a good source of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous.
Calcium and phosphorous are crucial in maintaining healthy bones, while magnesium helps in blood sugar regulation and overall nerve function in our bodies.
While corn is known for carbohydrates, it’s still a viable source for extra proteins for your cavies.
Like in humans, guinea pigs need proteins for growth and hemoglobin production, which aids in oxygenated blood circulation.
Corn Nutrition Profile
Below is a summary of the amounts of nutrients in corn courtesy of the USDA National Nutrient Database.
|Nutrients||Amount in 100 g|
|Vitamin C||6.8 mg|
|Vitamin E||9 ug|
Risks to consider when feeding guinea pigs corn
Below are some health issues associated with feeding guinea pigs corn;
- Guinea pigs live a sedentary lifestyle, so it’s best to keep their calorie intake to a minimum.
- Besides, they get most of their nutrients from hay (more n this later), so foods with more calories such as corn will lead to rapid weight gain, making them more susceptible to diabetes, heart issues, and other health issues.
- If your guinea pigs are underweight, then corn would be a safer food to help increase their weight compared to fruits or veggies.
- Urinary tract issues
- As mentioned earlier, corn is an additional source of calcium for guinea pigs.
- But too high calcium content could lead to kidney/bladder stones, a condition that causes pain and discomfort in cavies.
- Digestive issues
- Corn varieties such as sweet corn contain too much sugar. Guinea pigs’ digestive systems aren’t well equipped to digest too much sugar, leading to stomach upsets or diarrhea.
- Excess sugar also harms their teeth. If you really have to feed them sweetcorn, stick to a few corn kernels a few times a month, or feed the corn husks and silks.
How often should you feed guinea pigs corn?
Corn shouldn’t be your guinea pig’s primary source of food. It’s best to serve them a few corn kernels at a time, a maximum of 2 times per week.
While you may prefer to serve them only the kernels, sometimes guinea pigs will love the silk and husk.
So, as I mentioned earlier, add some kernels, silks, husks, stalks, and leaves.
The husk is one of the best parts of corn to feed your guinea pigs. It’s close to hay in texture, making it a great alternative when guinea pigs feel disinterested in hay.
And it also helps file down their teeth. Unlike the kernels, you can feed them the husks more often since they don’t contain too much sugar or calories.
However, never replace hay entirely with corn husks. Instead, mix it up with veggies and different types of hay for more health benefits.
Preparing corn for guinea pigs
- If possible, always go for organically grown cob.
- Don’t throw the corn plant as a whole. Cut it into smaller pieces, or separate the various parts to serve at different times.
- Wash the corn thoroughly to get rid of dirt or any other residuals.
- Remove the outer husks and only feed your guinea pigs the inner husks.
- You can shred the husks into smaller pieces and dry them for later.
Getting your guinea pigs to enjoy corn
As I’ve mentioned, corn husks are like hay. So, you can feed them even daily if possible.
Just like you would make balls or tie some hay to the guinea pig’s cage, you can do the same with the corn husks to keep them busy all day as they chew on it.
Alternatives to corn for guinea pigs
Fiber and Vitamin C are some of the reasons you would prefer to include corn in a guinea pig’s diet.
But the good news is that you can steer clear of the hazards associated with this food by getting alternatives. Below are some other options.
Hay is the ultimate guinea pig food, and they should have an unlimited supply of it. It contains the necessary amounts of vitamins, antioxidants, water, fiber, and other nutrients that guinea pigs need.
Hay acts both as healthy food and a toy to relieve boredom as they chew on it. It also helps maintain good dental health.
Alfalfa hay and timothy hay are some of the best hay varieties to feed guinea pigs of all ages.
Do guinea pigs eat grass? Besides purchasing hay for your guinea pigs, you can also allow them to graze in your yard.
Grass contains balanced amounts of fiber, Vitamin C, sugars, water, and it’s rough to help trim their teeth.
Just like with hay, guinea pigs can eat as much grass as they’d like without facing any health issues.
The only downside with grass from your yard is that it may be contaminated. For starters, it may contain harmful chemicals (pesticides), poisonous plants, waste from other pets, and even molds.
If you’re not careful, feeding them from your lawn may cause more harm than good. Ensure the grass is “clean” before providing it to your cavies.
You should also avoid feeding your cavies grass clippings since they ferment more rapidly and could lead to more digestive issues.
Veggies and fruits
For a balanced diet, you should add some veggies and fruits. Corn is only one example of vegetables to feed them, but there are several other varieties.
Lettuce (green leaf lettuce and romaine lettuce) are some of the veggies you can feed them daily. Others include;
- Spinach – For a comprehensive analysis on spinach, check out this post – do guinea pigs eat spinach?
- Carrots and carrot tops – Check our complete guide “Can Carrots Kill Guinea Pigs?”
- Bell pepper
Commercial Food (Pellets)
It’s essential to include Vitamin C fortified pellets in the diet for your pet guinea pig.
This is because they may not always get the nutrients they need from natural food. Get the food from a trusted supplier, make sure it has no seeds or nuts, and make sure it is made for guinea pigs.
Avoid gerbil, rabbits, or other small pet food since they all have different nutrient requirements.
Can guinea pigs eat corn FAQs
How much corn can guinea pigs eat?
You should feed a few kernels at least 1 to 2 times per week. But the corn husks and silks can be fed more often since they have lower sugar content and contain more fiber.
Can corn kill guinea pigs?
Not really. Corn is not toxic, but overfeeding your cavies this food could lead to digestive issues, obesity, and urinary tract issues.
What foods can kill guinea pigs?
Processed foods such as popcorn, corn chips, tortillas, cornmeal, bread, potato chips, foods with caffeine, mushrooms, etc., can kill cavies or lead to severe health issues. Meat is also not suitable for guinea pigs since they are herbivores.
So, can guinea pigs have corn? Yes, they can, but it should not form the main part of their diet.
All parts of corn are safe for guinea pigs, but they may be more inclined to the corn husks than the other parts.
Husks are safe for feeding your piggies daily. Always serve raw corn, preferably organic.
Remember, a guinea pig’s diet should always include hay or grass, veggies, fruits, pellets, and a continuous supply of fresh water.
- “FoodData Central.” n.d. Fdc.nal.usda.gov. Accessed June 8, 2021. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/787790/nutrients.
- “Health Benefits of Corn.” n.d. WebMD. Accessed June 8, 2021. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/corn-health-benefits.
- National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on Laboratory Animal Nutrition. 2017. “Nutrient Requirements of the Guinea Pig.” Nih.gov. National Academies Press (US). 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK231932/.
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Barry Stingmore is a British content writer living in Fuerteventura, Spain. An animal lover at heart, he shares his home with a dog and four rescue cats and has a passion for writing about animals big and small.
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