Corn comes in different varieties such as flour, dent, and sweet corn. For many, it is used as a food source either directly or indirectly and as an animal feed. However, how does it work on your guinea pigs?
Can guinea pigs eat corn?
Guinea pigs do feed on corn which has a series of nutritional benefits for them. Guinea pigs feed on the different parts of the corn plant including the husks, the stringy silks and the kernels on the cob.
The Right Amount of Corn for Cavies
Excess corn is harmful for your pet’s health. Wondering what the right proportions are?
Well, cavies can regularly eat corn husks and silks including daily intervals. They have no damage when in excess since they are just like hay.
However, the corn kernels should be fed once or twice a week as a treat. Corn kernels are the single grains on the cob. Give your guinea pig a quarter of the cob per feed but this varies depending on the size of the cob.
Corn kernels are fed to cavies in small quantities and should not be fed alone. Moreover, feed it with the kernels directly from the cob.
How to Feed Corn to Guinea Pigs
Always ensure anything fed to your guinea pig is washed well to avoid food poisoning. For the husks, use the inner leaves as the outer leaves could contain pesticides which are harmful for the pet. Check out for any fungi or bacteria on the corn kernels which is toxic for the guinea pig.
The Right Corn for Guinea Pigs
Fresh and dried corn husks are tender and work just fine for your pet. Excess husks have little calories therefore have no harm to the guinea pig. For the kernels, they should be raw and fresh.
Baby corn which is picked when immature is safe for your pet. The guinea pigs can feed on the full cob since they are small with few corn kernels.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Corn Products?
Corn products such as corn starch, corn flakes and corn syrup are not recommended for the pet. They are processed and do not form part of a healthy diet. They bring more harm than good to your pet and should be avoided.
What Type of Corn is Harmful for Guinea pigs?
Guinea pigs cannot eat dry, cooked or cracked corn. Its body system cannot digest the cooked corn. On the other hand, dry corn can choke them and have no nutritional value for your pet.
Cracked corn refers to corn kernels that have been dried and broken into pieces. Cracked corn is dry and can choke your pet, hurt its gums and also fracture or break its teeth.
Do not feed it with canned corn since it is cooked before canning. It is also has added salt which is not good for the pet and may contain other added chemicals.
To add to that, frozen corn is only safe for guinea pigs when not cooked. Make sure to defrost it before giving it to your pet but remember not all guinea pigs react well to it. Check out for any signs of discomfort in the cavy.
Benefits of Corn Husks
- Corn husks are rich in potassium which treats inflammation, bladder infections and kidney stones issues.
- They are also rich in fiber which aids in digestion and has a laxative effect on the guinea pig.
- They contain nutrients which help promote vision in your guinea pig.
- Corn husks are a source of vitamin K which is essential for growth of healthy bones.
- Moreover, they contain Vitamin C that regulates immune in the body and also helps in the tissue growth and maintenance.
- Vitamin A which aids in good vision can be obtained from corn husks too.
Importance of Corn Kernels
- They are a rich source of fatty acids which play important roles in the immune system. They also promote a healthy skin and coat for the guinea pig.
- Corn kernels contain antioxidants which protect the cavy’s cells against damage.
- They are a good source of protein for muscle and tissue growth of the pet.
- Kernels are a quality source of carbohydrates for energy and also ensure the brain and nervous system function well.
- They provide vitamin E which helps your guinea pig to develop healthy immune and circulatory immune systems and also strong and healthy muscles.
- Corn kernels are a rich source in the following minerals; magnesium, iron, copper, selenium, zinc, phosphorous and potassium.
- Iron and copper boost the immune system by making the blood of the pet healthy.
- Magnesium regulates the pet’s body inflammatory response.
- They also have vitamin B-9 which is crucial for the growing and functioning of cells.
- It is a source of sugar which provides energy for your pet.
Effects of Excess Corn on Guinea Pigs
Excess corn kernels have high water content and can cause bloating in the guinea pig. They can also lead to the following health issues in the pet;
- Diabetes. Guinea pigs are prone to suffer from diabetes when they eat a regular diet in sugar and carbohydrates.
- Over-weight problems. Corn is naturally rich in starch and too much of it will lead to weight problems due to the excess calories.
- Urinary problems. Corn contains calcium sand phosphorous which when in excess will cause urinary issues.
- Digestion issues. Guinea pigs do not have complex digestive systems. Too much sugar in the corn cannot be digested well and can lead to indigestion or stomach upset.
- Diarrhea. Excess sugar from a lot of corn increases the harmful bacteria in your pet’s digestive system leading to diarrhea.
The Bottom Line
Corn is healthy food for your guinea pig which has a wide range of health benefits if well utilized. Ensure to observe proper hygiene and feed it in the right amounts to rip off the full benefits for your guinea pig.