Guinea pigs can eat corn on the cob including the bright yellow kernels, the husks (or leaves) and also the stringy silks that grow between the husks and the corn itself. But what are the benefits of corn and how much and how often can they be fed?
The sweetcorn kernels are loved by most guinea pigs. There is no need to remove the kernels from the cob as they enjoy it straight from the cob.
Fibre is a very important part of a guinea pig’s daily diet and the kernels provide a good amount of fibre.
Guinea pigs love the green leafy husks and these are an excellent source of fibre too. If you’ve ever tried to eat one of these, you will experience how fibrous as they are very difficult to chew!
However, guinea pigs have no problem munching their way through these husks and the fibre is really good for them as it forms an important part of their diet.
It’s a shame the husks are often removed before they reach the supermarket shelves but this is not always the case. You can sometimes find cobs, usually when the corn is in season, with the husks left intact.
And if you have a fruit and veg market near where you live, you may have more luck at finding the complete cob.
The silks grow between the kernels and the husks and they do actually feel very silky but look like lots of fine strings. These silks also hold a lot of nutrition and your guinea pigs will love this part of the corn too.
There isn’t usually much of the stalk left when you buy corn in the shops but don’t chop off any that remains, because your guinea pigs, like ours, might love nibbling that part too.
Guinea pigs can eat baby corn (from the maize plant) in small amounts a couple of times a week. These small cobs are picked before they become fully mature so can be eaten in whole, unlike the mature corn cobs which have a hard, inedible cob.
There isn’t much information available about the nutritional value of these cornlets, but remember that the diet of your guinea pig should largely be green leafy vegetables with a small amount of other vegetables so feed sparingly.
Guinea pigs should always have fresh raw food so they must not be fed frozen, tinned or cooked corn.
Feeding the whole cob provides them with a lot of fun and excitement as they unwrap the food parcel and reach the sweet kernels inside.
Bear in mind that a whole cob is a large quantity for a pair of guinea pigs so it’s best to cut it into chunks for them.
About a quarter is plenty for one guinea pig at one time but this does depend on the size of the cob.
Sweetcorn kernels are high in sugar compared to many vegetables. However, the husks and silks are not high in sugar and are packed with fibre.
Corn is not as high in vitamin C as many other fruits and veggies so with this and its sugar content in mind, it is best considered more as a treat so not fed too often to your guinea pigs
However, if your guinea pig needs to put on a bit of weight, you could feed it to them more often.
The husks and silks of the corn can be given a few times a week as they are not high in sugar.
Below is the nutritional value per 100g of corn on the cob
Vitamin C: 6.8 mg
Calcium: 2 mg
Phosphorous: 89 mg
Fibre: 2 g
Sugar: 6.3 g