Guinea pigs are herbivorous rodents that eat a variety of plants, but that doesn’t mean that every plant is good for them. Most of their diet should be made up of hay, some pelleted food, and a supplement of vegetables. But what about corn?
Though it should not be a staple in the guinea pig’s diet, the short answer is that corn is safe occasionally. Here’s what you need to know.
Is Corn Good for Guinea Pigs?
Corn does have two nutrients that are good for guinea pigs: vitamin C and calcium 1. The vitamin C content is low, however, at around 6.8 mg per 100 grams 2. This means that corn can add a little vitamin C to your cavy’s diet, but you shouldn’t rely on it as the sole source of the essential vitamin.
There are small amounts of calcium as well, which helps to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) in guinea pigs. But like vitamin C, there’s not enough for corn to be the only source of calcium for your guinea pig.
Corn also contains a moderate amount of phosphorus, with around 89 mg per 100 grams. Phosphorus complements calcium to build and maintain strong bones, so guinea pigs need this mineral as well.
Is Corn Safe for Guinea Pigs?
Yes, corn is generally safe for guinea pigs if it’s raw and unseasoned. Never feed your guinea pig cooked corn, especially with seasoning, spices, or oils, as it can make it sick. Raw corn kernels are fine, but you should limit how much and how often you feed it. Corn is high in starch, which can lead to bloating and gas, as well as sugar, which can contribute to obesity and related health problems.
At most, guinea pigs should have two or three kernels a few times a week to be safe.
What About Husks and Silks?
Corn kernels may be limited, but the rest of the corn is free game. They can have the inner corn husks on a regular basis to help them get extra fiber and protein. From a dietary perspective, corn husks are similar to feeding grass or hay.
If you want to feed husks, you can either give them to the cavy whole or cut them into smaller strips. When corn isn’t in season, leave the husks out to dry and store them in a zippered bag so they’ll keep.
Guinea pigs can also have corn silk daily but be mindful of pesticides. If possible, get organic corn that isn’t treated with chemicals that can harm your cavy.
Guinea pigs love all types of vegetables and plants, including corn. But unlike hay, grass, and leafy greens, it’s important to limit the intake of corn to a few raw kernels a few times a week at most to keep your guinea pig safe and healthy. Any more than that provides too much starch and sugar without adding many nutritional benefits. Corn husks and silks, however, can be a healthy addition to your cavy’s diet.
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