Rabbits are one of the cutest pets. But their diets can be delicate. A rabbit can eat most leafy greens, apples, carrots (of course), and broccoli. But the same can’t be said about corns.
Corn or maize is a cereal grain that is considered a staple food in many countries. Aside from being grounded into cornmeal for human consumption, it’s also made into animal feed.
Can rabbits eat corn on the cob?
While some owners claim that their rabbits love to eat corn, unfortunately, rabbits cannot eat corn on the cob. They can’t also eat fresh corn, sweet corn, and corn cob. But rabbits can eat certain parts of a corn plant.
Eating corn on the cob can cause fatal side effects to your pets. Corn seed is covered in a shell or coating called a hull. This part of the corn contains complex polysaccharides that rabbits can’t digest. And because rabbits cannot vomit, the corn stays inside the stomach unchanged. It leads to constipation and abdominal pains. In severe cases, the undigested corn blocks the digestive tract, which can lead to death
Corn cobs also pose risks like corn kernels. Rabbits mustn’t be fed corn cobs. Aside from having no nutritional value, corn cobs can also cause intestinal impaction
The issue of corn and rabbit is still debated by many. Corn contains traces of vitamins that keep a bunny healthy. Some rabbits eat corn occasionally and are found to be healthier. Even so, there are only so few cases and they are the exception. If you want to be safe rather than sorry, do not feed your rabbits corn on the cob. This feeding tip is a key part of taking proper care of your rabbit.
What are the potential risks that rabbits get when eating corn?
There are many health risks in letting your rabbit eat corn in any form. This is why it is not recommended by veterinarians. But if you are still planning on incorporating it into your pet’s diet, you should know what you will be facing.
Here are what happens when you feed your rabbit corn.
Corn can be a choking hazard
While rabbits have an amazing ability to nibble and chew on their food, field corn is very hard. For the most part, they bite it off swallow the kernels whole. Small and younger rabbits can easily choke on these.
Rabbit feces have two forms, hard pellets, and cecotropes. Rabbits eat the cecotropes which may sound gross but are completely normal and healthy even.
Cecotropes are soft and are produced in the cecum, a fermentation pouch in the digestive system. In the cecum, there is a colony of good bacteria and yeast that breaks down indigestible fiber from grass and hay. This forms into essential nutrients and fatty acids that are then coated and excreted in the anus. Rabbits then eat this and the nutrients are reabsorbed in the stomach and intestines.
If a rabbit eats a healthy diet, these yeast and good bacteria thrive and produce healthy cecotropes. Rabbits who do not eat their cecotropes are missing a lot of essential nutrients.
When rabbits eat corn, the sugar and starch in this food will cause an imbalance and chaos in the cecum. Yeasts that love sugar will go wild.
On the other hand, the starch which the rabbit’s stomach cannot digest will get stuck in the intestines. It will continue to ferment and will encourage the growth of harmful bacteria.
These result in cecal diabolysis. One sign of this disease is feces that appears as dark puddles of smelly liquid.
Gastrointestinal (GI) Statis
Gastrointestinal stasis is one of the major risks of feeding corn to rabbits. GI stasis is caused by an imbalance of digestive flora, which causes the intestines to seize.
When rabbits eat corn, they can form an immediate blockage in the gut. A small amount of corn that gets stuck will also catch more and more food every meal and cause a plug to form over time.
When these scenarios happen, the digestion goes into stasis or stops. The food that gets stuck will cause the growth of harmful bacteria that will cause bloating and abdominal pain. Rabbits will quickly lose their appetite and refuse to take in food and drink water.
If Gi stasis is untreated immediately, it could lead to fatal results. In most cases, surgery is needed.
Corn is rich in sugar and starch, which causes quick weight gain in rabbits. Eating corn once or twice a week can still lead to obesity.
Obesity can lead to secondary health problems for your pet, like arthritis, heart diseases, and liver problems.
Sudden weight gain will also result in an inability to groom itself, unformed cecotropes, joint pain, and nutritional deficiencies.
What are the contents of corn that can be harmful to rabbits?
While corn offers benefits, the risks are greater. Here are the contents of corn that are potentially harmful to your rabbit’s health derived from recent posts in medical journals.
Carbohydrates help in growth and provide energy for a bunny. Corn, however, contains an average of 18.7% of carbohydrates which is a lot. Feeding rabbit corn can overload its cecum and cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and other digestive problems.
In addition, excessive amounts of carbohydrates prevent the production of molitin. Molitin is a substance that aids in the smooth flow of food in the gut.
While corn is high in calories and carbs, it’s relatively low in fiber which is what a bunny needs.
A rabbit needs 18-25% of fiber every day. Filling them up on corn will decrease the amount of hay they eat. It will reduce their fiber intake.
Mycotoxins are harmful substances released by fungi that grow on corn and other grains. Corn may contain aflatoxins and fumonisins. Even small amounts of this are potentially dangerous when ingested by humans and animals.
Can you give corn cob to a rabbit as chew toys?
Rabbits have open-rooted teeth, which means that their teeth are ever-growing. The incisors of a bunny can grow between 1.3-3mm per week. Long-time pet owners know this, but some may still be unsure whether con cobs are safe to give as dental toys.
The answer is no. Giving rabbits corn cobs as dental toys creates more problems. Corn cobs are dull and soft. They do not have enough abrasive texture to effectively wear down the teeth of a bunny. Most likely, your rabbit will bite off and swallow pieces of corn cobs that can get stuck on the throat or intestines.
To avoid choking and stomach impactions, give your bunny hay or vet-recommended dental toys to help wear their teeth down.
What part of the corn can rabbits eat?
Are you wondering if there are parts and other forms of corn that rabbits can eat? Continue reading and find out the answer.
Can a rabbit eat sweetcorn?
Sweetcorn is corn that is picked early. Sweetcorn is softer than mature field corn.
- pantothenic acid
- vitamin B6
- vitamin C
It may sound good, especially adding the fact that sweet corn is softer than dried corn. But sweetcorn is still more harmful than good. Fresh sweetcorn can get stuck on a rabbit’s stomach and cause a blockage.
Also, sweetcorn contains high sugar and starch than other forms of corn.
Cooked sweet corn
Cooking will make the corn softer inside, but the hull remains undigestible for a bunny.
Additionally, if cooked corn contains the same (if not more) sugar, carbs, and starch that are hard to digest.
Baby sweetcorn or cornlets is softer compared to mature sweetcorn. It’s the safest form of corn that rabbits can eat when you’re considering avoiding stomach impaction and GI stasis.
Even so, baby sweetcorn is still not recommended for rabbits because it contains the same amount of sugar and starch.
Can rabbits eat canned corn?
In the case of canned corn (sweetcorn or corn kernels), there is a greater risk. The preservatives and high sugar additives will cause many adverse effects. Preservatives can cause gastric irritation, and the additional sugar will result in weight gain.
Can a rabbit eat corn kernels?
Corn kernels are also a no. Canned or otherwise, corn kernels are dangerous for a bunny because they cannot digest them properly.
Can a rabbit eat dried corn?
Dried corn is the hardest form of corn. It should never be given as a treat to rabbits, even as occasional treats.
Dried corn has a greater risk of causing gut problems.
Can a rabbit eat fresh corn?
Because fresh corn is soft, rabbits tend to swallow them without chewing, which leaves the hull intact.
Can a rabbit eat popcorn?
Popcorn is a favorite snack for humans. It’s crunchy and comes in different flavors. It’s because of this that rabbits cannot eat popcorns. Aside from the starch and carb content, they also have spices like salt (sodium) that are very dangerous to rabbits.
Can a rabbit eat corn husks?
Yes, You can feed rabbits corn husks.
The husk is one part of the corn plant that does not contain too many carbs and sugar. Corn husks are rich in fiber.
Corn husks can be chew toys for your rabbit. The husks are hard and rough, which will wear the teeth of your bunny.
Can a rabbit eat corn leaves?
Like the corn husk, this part is the corn is safe for rabbits. Wild rabbits that search for their food will eat corn leaves and stalks.
A domestic pet rabbit will also treat. It’s recommended that you give fresh and softer leaves for easier chewing.
However, most farmers use pesticides. When giving corn leave to your rabbits, make sure they are organic or wash them thoroughly.
What are other safe treats to feed your rabbit?
If you’re looking for healthier foods for your rabbits, search no more. We already did the search for you. Read and see the list of must-haves in a rabbit’s diet.
Hay has a high fiber content. Because of this, a rabbit’s diet should consist of 80% of hay or other grass hay. Fibers are good for the gut.
A younger bunny can eat almost all types of grass hay. An adult bunny, on the other hand, should not be fed clover hay, and alfalfa hay. These have high calcium and protein content.
Green fresh food
Leafy green food like vegetables and fruits is composed of 10-15% of a rabbit’s diet. Green food provides them with essential vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a healthy body.
Rabbits can eat raw or cooked broccoli. However, it’s important to note that cooking lessens the nutritional value that your rabbits can derive from their food.
Broccoli is a source of fiber and other nutrients.
Baby rabbits should not be fed broccoli or other fresh vegetables as they have weak and sensitive tummies.
Bananas are soft and easily chewable. It’s also packed with nutrients like potassium.
Apples are tasty treats for bunnies.
The seeds and stem should be removed, before feeding them to your pets. These parts contain cyanogenic substances which are toxic.
Who can forget? Bunnies love carrots, but they shouldn’t be their only food.
Rabbit pellets contain all the nutrients that rabbit needs for their growth and sustenance. For busy adult owners, pellets are convenient.
But if possible, it is better to mix pellets with green foods for an optimum healthy diet.
Treats make up 5-10% of a rabbit’s diet. The fruits and vegetables mentioned above are delicious treats, but there are also commercial one available. You can get commercial rabbit treat at local pet stores and online. But before you buy them, make sure to check the food content. Avoid foods that are rich in sugar and carbs.
Final thoughts on “Can rabbits eat corn on the cob?”
Rabbits will eat anything. While maize contains some vitamins, it’s composed of carbs and starch that are not good for a rabbit.
Fresh corn, sweetcorn, and canned corn can all harm the digestive system of a rabbit, especially a baby.
Moreover, corn seeds or kernels have hulls that are indigestible for bunnies. It can cause gastrointestinal impaction and other problems in the digestive system.
The risks of feeding corn are greater than the benefits that your pet can derive from it. It is better to give rabbit alternative fresh fruits and vegetables which contains higher amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Corn husks and corn leaves are the only parts of the corn plant that are safe for rabbits to eat.
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“Fresh corn on the cob” by jengledow is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/