If you have a pet guinea pig and want to feed them corn, you’ll want to know whether this is a good idea. Is it safe and healthy for them to do so or can it cause health issues and complications? I’ve decided to conduct some research which I would like to present here to you today.
So, can guinea pigs eat corn? Guinea pigs can eat raw corn but should do so in moderation and as a treat. Some guinea pigs love corn, whereas others will not and will simply leave it. Either way, it is very important that you only serve raw corn. Cooked corn cannot be digested.
Let us now take a closer look at corn, the different types, whether or not and how you should be feeding this food to your guinea pig.
Guinea Pigs And Corn
Guinea pigs generally really enjoy eating corn. That being said, you should only offer it as a treat now and again.
Corn naturally is high in high in calories and carbohydrate content (around 3% of which comes from sugars). Therefore feeding your guinea pig corn too regularly can lead to obesity and other health issues related to weight gain and excess calories.
The preferential way to serve corn is on the cob with the husk and the silk. Any additional leaves are ideal too. This provides extra nutrition and foliage and serves as a way to provide additional fiber in the diet (which is incredibly important for your cavies digestion.
If you are not sure what the silk and husk, is, here is an illustration demonstrating each part of the cob:
The corn husk is generally dry and very fibrous, whereas the silk is stringy in appearance and texture. When you purchase a corn on the cob at the grocery store, you may therefore need to opt for the un-packaged version which usually leaves these on.
Guinea Pigs also enjoy the kernels of corn. These are essentially the individual yellow pieces and chunks. It is this part of the vegetable that you need to be wary with how much your guinea pig consumes.
Its where most of the calories are but it is also high in water so in excess can cause gas/bloating. The kernel should be fed in very small quantity and ideally never on it’s own.
It is also possible to provide your guinea pig with baby corn, but this too should be limited in the diet.
When serving corn, always make sure that you do so via a cob and that it is served raw and not cooked.
Cooking actually changes the fiber content of the food, and if not appropriately cooled prior to serving, can cause issues with burning of the mouth.
If your guinea pigs are carying too much excess weight then corn is something that should be eliminated entirely.
Nutritional Content of Corn
|Amount To Feed||2-3x per week (via the cob)|
|Calories||94 calories per 100g|
|Protein||3.4g per 100g|
|Carbohydrates||21g per 100g|
|Sugar||4.5g per 100g|
|Fat||1.5g per 100g|
Vitamins and Minerals
|Vitamin C||6.8mg per 100g|
|Calcium||2.0mg per 100g|
|Phosphorous||89.0mg per 100g|
|Calcium to Phosphorous Ratio||0.02:1|
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Canned Corn?
Never feed your guinea pig canned corn. The majority of canned corn brands use a lot of salt to preserve the corn, which is not good for your guinea pig’s health.
Canned corn is mostly cooked too, which as we have mentioned previously, is not how you should be providing food to your guinea pig.
Lastly, too much corn kernels, even if provided on the cob, are very calorie and water dense. This can lead to weight gain in the long run, and gas bloating in the immediate short run.
Generally, you want to be mindful of how much kernel you feed your guinea pig.
How Much Corn Husk Can A Guinea Pig Eat?
Corn husk is primarily fiber with little calories. Therefore husk can be fed freely to guinea pigs and provides great variety to a heavily hay based diet.
Guinea pigs require a lot of fiber in their diet, and it is know that guinea pigs can become disinterested in hay if it is not routinely changed or you are not serving it fresh.
When it comes to husk, be sure to include it along with other foods, like hay, and you can do so daily as a treat.
You should never displace hay entirely with corn husk, but it is a lot more beneficial to a guinea pig than the kernels.
You should always look for organic corn cobs when possible for obtaining your husk. Otherwise you are going to need to thoroughly wash it before.
Husk is easy to rip of the cob, and you do not need to cut it up or break it down. You can serve an entire ‘piece’ of husk at a time and save the cob for another time.
If this is not possible, use the husk that is closest to the actual cob itself, because this will be the safest and will be the lowest in pesticide residue and any other chemicals.
The fiber is husk is also an excellent way to naturally support your guinea pig when filing down their teeth. Guinea pig teeth continue to grow and if not filed down regularly with hay and other fibrous foods can become painful. Husk therefore can support this process. They love to chew it!
Husks is very tasty for a guinea pig and is very similar in texture and nutritional value to hay/grass.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cracked Corn?
Cracked corn is when the corn kernels have been dried. They have then been cracked into small pieces. These are typically fed to birds as the smaller size and greater density makes it easier for them to eat.
The size of cracked corn can vary depending on the brand and the type of grinder they use, but coarse grinding is generally more common.
It is not a good idea to feed your guinea pig cracked corn. This is for three reasons:
- Teeth: cracked corn is very hard and can cause your guinea pig to crack their own teeth and cause other dental issues.
- Digestive Issues: cracked corn is hard to digest because it is so dense and hard.
- Choking hazard: pieces can get stuck and wedged in your guinea pigs throat where they will ne unable to dislodge it.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Corn Flakes?
Corn flakes are a cereal breakfast made from toasting corn and adding another grain like barley, a few vitamins and sometimes flavourings.
If you opt for plain corn flakes than these should be okay if fed rarely. They are not really providing any beneficial nutrition to your guinea pig so they are better excluded from the diet or as irregular treats.
You need to be careful with any flavoured brands or additives because these can be very high on sugars. Excess sugar in a guinea pigs diet can be fatal.
Additionally, if you are to serve your guinea pig a small helping of corn flakes, you’ll need to do so plain. Never give them milk too!
Guinea pigs are lactose intolerant and will not be able to digest the proteins in the milk; leading to severe digestive distress, gas and bloating.
Guinea pigs can eat corn, just with a few caveats:
- Corn is provided infrequently as a treat (2-3x per week).
- Corn is provided on the cob, raw and uncooked.
- Canned and cracked corn is never provided.
- Corn husk and silks can be fed freely and this is actually preferential.
Ultimately you have to do what is best for your guinea pig. In fact, there is no guarantee that they will like the corn to begin with. Not all cavies do.
One of the best things you can do for your guinea pig is provide them variety and an abundance of fiber. The husks are excellent ways to do this, and your guinea pigs can grind their teeth and chew on it just as they would hay.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.