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Rabbit Scout

Raise Happier & Healthier Rabbits!

Can Rabbits Eat Corn?

Fresh, dried, or cooked corn, all of them are not safe for your bunny. It is very unfortunate to say because some bunnies love to munch on fresh and sweet corn very much.

While the hull of corn kernels carries complex polysaccharides. Normally, rabbits find it hard to digest complex polysaccharides. So, corn is considered lethal to your pet bunny in extreme conditions (like overeating).

Cellulose and pectin flow in a rabbit’s system well and most plant cells carry this type of element.

But now the confusion lingers due to other rabbit owners who didn’t find any problems while feeding their pet rabbit some fresh, raw corn.

Well, the reasonable answer that we can give you is “it is not fit for all conditions.”

Each case has an exception. Likewise, some rabbits can easily digest corn without encountering any issues. Nonetheless, we should err on the side of caution.

That’s the reason some rabbit owners stopped giving corn to their pets, and we suggest that you do the same.

You can easily find a lot of alternatives to corn like vegetables and fruits. So why should you take the risk?

Some of the major reasons why you shouldn’t feed these adorable animals include the following:

Have indigestible hulls

Corn kernels carry indigestible hulls that may create intestinal blockages or impactions that can be fatal to pet rabbits. Unlike cellulose and pectin, the hull of corn kernels possesses a complex polysaccharide that the bunny’s digestive system finds hard to digest.

High in carbohydrates

If you’re considering giving your pet rabbits some sweetcorn, well, think again. Examining its nutritional structure, it only carries protein and most of the essential amino acids it includes are just in small quantities.

It also provides thiamine, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and potassium. All of these elements are required for a rabbit’s optimum health.

However, it contributes about 18.7g of carbohydrates per 100g or 18.7% of their meal. Such high levels of carbs will burden your bunny’s hindgut fermentation chamber (cecum) and potentially create enteritis, stomach upsets, diarrhea, and other health issues.

Also, excessive intake of carbs hinders motilin release, which elevates GI movement. Without motilin, GI stasis is inevitable.

Finally, by analyzing the calorie count of corn, your rabbit will surely gain too much weight in place of gastrointestinal blockages.

Low in fiber

An ideal rabbit diet must be high in fiber, about 18-25%, particularly for lactating, growing, or nursing rabbits. However, maize doesn’t carry much fiber, which promotes a healthy gut that keeps their digestive system flowing, and also helps wear down their ever-growing teeth.

Risk of contamination with mycotoxins

It is not unusual to find maize contaminated with mycotoxins like zearalenone, aflatoxins, trichothecenes, or fumonisins, which will harm your pet rabbit’s health, other animals, or even yourself.

Is Corn Good for Rabbits?

Though corn may carry such nutrients that are helpful for rabbits, still, corn is not considered safe to be fed to rabbits due to the harm it creates to them. That is the reason why all rabbit vets don’t recommend feeding corn to rabbits.

Here are the other types of corn that you should not feed to your pet rabbit.

Corn Kernels

Corn Kernels don’t work well in a rabbit’s digestive system. The hulls of corn kernels could produce intestinal cuts and blockage of the rabbit. 

Any food that carries a low amount of carbs is ideal for rabbits. Corn carries a high amount of starch and sugar. Conclusively, it doesn’t match the required criteria for rabbit food.

As an added risk, most corn is not grown organically. Moreover, most varieties of corn are GMO-treated products for more production.

In some particular situations, corn may carry mycotoxin. So, it would be a better idea to avoid it.

Cooked or Canned Corn

Rabbits are herbivores, and they prefer to eat fresh and raw foods only. A rabbit’s digestive system will find it hard to digest any processed foods. Ultimately, your pet rabbit will surely face several digestive problems after you feed them with any processed food like corn.

Corn on the Cobs

Normally, rabbits do not like eating the cob of the maize. Maize cobs don’t carry any significant nutrients as well. Moreover, it doesn’t produce any taste.

If your bunny likes too much corn on the cob, then you could offer a very small amount of dry corn on the cob to your pet bunny. Dry corn on the cobs is safer to feed to a rabbit than fresh corn on the cob.

Popcorn

Popcorn is not digestible in a rabbit’s digestive system. Moreover, popcorn carries other additives like salt or masala that can harm a rabbit’s health.

Unfortunately, many of us hold the wrong idea about popcorn. If you give popcorn every day to your bunny, they will eventually gain too much weight and encounter digestible problems.

Popcorn may be a tasty snack for humans, but deadly to rabbits.

Dried Corn

Dried corns are indigestible to a rabbit’s system due to complex polysaccharides. Same with fresh corn, you should not provide it to them as well.

Baby Corn

Of all the types of corn that you can find, baby corn is considered the safest option for rabbits. But for the safety of your beloved pet, you should not feed the baby corn to your bunny. It also contains a high amount of sugar and starch which are not ideal for rabbits.

Sweetcorn

Sweetcorn contains a high amount of sugar and starch. Additionally, sweetcorn also carries complex polysaccharides. That is the reason why you should also avoid feeding sweetcorn to your bunny.

Rabbits may seem to love sweet treats, and you may wonder if sweetcorn can be a part of that treat menu. The answer is a strong NO.

Sweetcorn is not safe for rabbits to eat due to the whole range of health problems that can arise if they do. Besides that, sweetcorn contributes almost nothing in the way of nourishment for a rabbit.

A rabbit should never be fed with sweetcorn in any form. Not only does it carry a high amount of sugar and starch, but a rabbit’s digestive system will find it hard to digest. It can produce impaction or gastrointestinal stasis, as well as weight gain and cecal dysbiosis.

All of these illnesses produce pain and discomfort to a rabbit and even death. Sweetcorn is very risky if fed or even provided as a treat to a rabbit.

Ultimately, corn is not a good choice for rabbits. You should always provide the hay and vet-recommended pellets to your pet rabbit.

Risks of Feeding Rabbits Sweetcorn

Feeding a rabbit with sweetcorn can produce a lot of risks. But some rabbit owners still plan on adding sweetcorn into their rabbit’s diet in any way. If you are the same as them, then beware of the following dangers:

Choking Hazard

Sweetcorn kernels can be a choking hazard to young or small rabbits. And this can be deadly.

Field corn has the chance to block the throat. Field corn is a type of sweetcorn that has completely matured and dried before being picked. Harvesting sweetcorn is done early before the starches have time to fully develop. The pericarp may still be soft but the cobs can be a choking hazard to rabbits of any age or size.

Since it is harvested while still young, baby sweetcorns are much softer. The cob doesn’t have the time to even start toughening up. As such, it’s totally edible. Baby sweetcorn may not choke a rabbit’s throat.

Cecal Dysbiosis

Rabbits normally release two types of stools: Soft cecotropes and hard pellets.

Cecotropes are created in the cecum which is a part of the intestinal tract. Within this cavity, there are very sensitive colonies of yeast and bacteria that help in the digestion (and fermentation) of food. This bacteria also restricts harmful bacteria from getting out of control. Good bacteria and yeast may thrive on a healthy diet.

The sugars and starches found in sweetcorn can make a rabbit’s tummy upset easily with these bacteria. Yeast loves to form with sugar. Adding an excess of sugar into a rabbit’s diet will make yeast colonies go wild. This, in turn, can affect the bacteria colonies. Starch, on the other hand, is hard for a rabbit’s system to digest.

Undigested starches will keep on fermenting in the gut and cecum. Here, it may foster an eruption of nasty bacteria, and the result will be cecal dysbiosis.

Cecal dysbiosis occurs when cecotropes are incomplete and discharged as puddles of dark liquid. Incomplete cecotropes produce a bad smell and will go uneaten. This makes it obvious to detect when a rabbit is experiencing this type of illness. A bunny experiencing cecal dysbiosis may still excrete hard pellets as normal.

At times, cecal dysbiosis can be stopped by setting the rabbit on a healthy diet. The fiber found in the grass hay will stimulate the gut to excrete all of the sugars and starches. In other situations, medication may be required.

Gastrointestinal Stasis

Gastrointestinal stasis occurs when food matter slows or stops flowing through the gut. Almost the same as cecal dysbiosis, stasis is produced by an irregularity in the sensitive gut flora. This makes the intestines stop working.

Additionally, a blockage can induce stasis to form. That’s what corn kernels do to a rabbit’s intestinal tract. A blockage can be critical. It may also develop over time, as a small bit of food gets stuck and blocks more and more food with each meal, then eventually forms a plug.

When either of these situations transpires, food digestion is stopped or put into stasis. As food stops flowing through a rabbit’s digestive tract, harmful bacteria start to grow. This will generate gasses that generate painful bloating. Such occurrence will discourage a rabbit from eating or drinking, which only worsens its condition.

Since sweetcorn is packed with high amounts of sugar and starch, the risk is very high. Gastrointestinal stasis of altering rigors can form easily. Stasis can be deadly if left untreated.

Weight Gain

Obesity is a common problem in domesticated pets when given too many treats. And rabbits are no exception.

Sweetcorn’s high amount of sugar and starch will make a rabbit quickly gain weight. This happens even if fed 1-2 times a week. Obesity sets a rabbit’s health at certain danger of secondary health issues, such as:

  • Heart and liver disorders
  • Arthritis
  • Cardiovascular difficulties

An overweight rabbit may also suffer from lifestyle changes. This might involve:

  • Incapacity to groom itself
  • Runny or unformed stools
  • Joint pain and limited mobility
  • Lack of nutrition due to being unable to eat cecotropes

An obese rabbit also provides fat in areas that can make eating, drinking, and defecating very hard.

Impaction

Impaction occurs when the digestive or intestinal tract is obstructed. Impaction can result from both causes or be caused by gastrointestinal stasis.

Rabbits find it hard to digest sweetcorn. As such, sweetcorn can easily create a blockage in rabbit’s intestines or cecum. This blocks any discharge from being passed. Eventually, it will rot in the gut, loading the intestinal chambers with gas and harmful bacteria.

Stern bloating and a distended abdomen will occur. Death is also possible if not treated quickly, and surgical intervention may be applied. This depends on the level of severity of the blockage and resulting stasis.

There are some foods that should never be fed to a rabbit, this includes sweetcorn.

Sweetcorn gives so little when it comes to nutritional value, even for a treat. As such, the chances certainly exceed any noted benefits.

Due to the high amount of sugar and (indigestible) starch sweetcorn carries, it will surely produce health issues like stasis, impaction, and weight gain.

No owner wants their beloved pet to suffer from these illnesses. So, just keep sweetcorn on your dinner table but nowhere near in your rabbit’s food dish.

What to Do If Your Rabbit Eats Corn?

Sadly, several rabbits are attracted to the taste of corn because of the large amounts of sugars and carbohydrates it carries. Combined with their curiosity and inquisitive natures, rabbits can frequently get into anything that they’re not supposed to eat.

But if you discover that your rabbit has eaten corn, the first thing that you should do is to wait and observe for any symptoms of indigestion. These can involve bloating, gas, constipation, and being reluctant to eat.

If you noticed any of these symptoms, call your vet immediately! Your rabbit may need medical help to be able to safely excrete the indigestible corn it has eaten.

What Part of Corn Can You Feed To Your Rabbit?

The motive behind the argument is that some rabbit owners have served their pet rabbits some corn and produced no issues. But most vets will advise you not to fill your rabbit’s diet with corn. Corn has the potential to produce gastric dilatation and intestinal blocking in rabbits, which could prove deadly to your pet.

Corn and corn products also carry fumonisin. Fumonisin is a mycotoxin toxic element generated by a fungus, particularly a mold. 

Should rabbits consume contaminated corn, they can generate mycotoxicosis. This disease strikes the organs, particularly the kidneys and liver. This could produce liver failure, gastroenteritis, and kidney crash in rabbits. It’s essential to note that rabbits can also catch mycotoxicosis by consuming corn for long periods.

You should never feed canned corn, frozen corn, baby corn, and popcorn to rabbits. This involves juvenile rabbits, adult rabbits, and baby rabbits. The possible health risks associated are not worth the suffering your pet rabbit will experience.

Are you wondering if there are any parts of the corn plant that rabbits can eat?

Corn Husks

Corn husks are called the green leafy portion that embraces the maize cobs. Rabbits love to eat the corn husks very much.

Its leafy part carries a high amount of fiber. That is much required for a rabbit’s health. If you are looking for natural chew toys to give to your bun, you can give the corn husks as their chew toys. It could also be an amazing treat for your bunny.

Corn Leaves

Corn leaves don’t inhibit any danger to your pet rabbit. Normally, rabbits don’t like to eat mature corn leaves. They prefer fresh and soft leaves. Nonetheless, you can still provide corn leaves as much as you like.

But since it is a seasonal crop, you will not have the chance to provide the corn leaves all year.

Corn Stalks

You can feed corn stalks to your pet rabbit, but please, make sure that the stalks and leaves are thoroughly washed and pesticide-free. Otherwise, it may result in food poisoning of your beloved pet.

Corn Plants

The mature corn plants are tough and rabbits find it hard to eat them. However, you can feed the soft corn plants which are safe for rabbits.

Final Thoughts

To sum it up, you should not feed corn to your bunny. Someone may advise you that providing a small amount of corn as an occasional treat is not a big problem. Well, not unless your bunny can digest it properly.

But why risk it? You can find plenty of alternatives to corn. You could feed your bunny with other natural and available vegetables.

If you really want to take care of your beloved pet rabbit, then provide them with a proper diet. A rabbit’s diet should largely include high-quality hay and lots of water. You can step up your rabbit’s diet a bit by infusing it with smaller servings of fresh leafy green vegetables every day.  

Commercial pellets should also make up a smaller serving of your rabbit’s diet, as well as treats that should make up 5% of your rabbit’s diet and must be kept to a minimum.

Hay is very essential to a rabbit’s diet. The fiber obtained in hay supports keeping your rabbit’s gut healthy. Since corn has no nutritional value, hay and leafy greens will make up the essential nutrients and fiber it requires.