When looking for information on whether rabbits can eat corn or not, the results are very controversial, this is because for some rabbits it’s indigestible immediately while for others after a while; the truth is that corn is not poisonous but it is still risky for rabbits.
Here’s why corn (fresh, dried, or cooked) isn’t safe for rabbits:
1) Corn kernels (plus other types of seeds) have an indigestible rind for rabbits which has a different composition from plant cell walls (cellulose and pectin); we are talking about the polysaccharide complex, which rabbits cannot actually digest. The main concern with corn kernels is intestinal blockages and wounds that sharp rinds can cause leading to unpleasant consequences.
2) Rabbits can not eat even cooked corn always because of the rind which could cause intestinal blockage and due to the high content of starches, carbohydrates, and sugars it is indigestible for a bunny.
3) Fresh corn can be problematic if eaten in large quantities, in fact, not being dry it can be ingested without being chewed too much, leaving the rind intact and risking to cause intestinal problems as the bacterial flora of a rabbit has difficulty breaking down the rinds.
4) Most of the existing corn is not 100% GMO-free.
5) Corn has no real nutritional value for rabbits (it’s just a filler).
6) Corn seems to contain mycotoxins that can compromise a rabbit’s health forever.
7) The corn husks are very fibrous and difficult to chew as well as filaments of celery and could get stuck in the windpipe causing serious problems. In general, corn husks are full of pesticides so there is no good reason to give them to a rabbit when there are so many other viable alternatives to choose from.
Why is corn for rabbits so frowned upon?
Even if you know people who give corn (whole ears of corn or other types of corn, sweet corn, corn cobs, or dried corn) we recommend that you always avoid it. Even if you think that “just a couple of grains won’t hurt”, “moderate amounts can’t do any harm”, in fact, there is also the risk of sudden and rapid weight loss from which it will be hard to recover for your bunny.
The truth is, there are many other vegetables that we know are safe for rabbits so why take that risk? In addition to this, eliminating corn from the rabbit’s diet does not affect the rabbit’s diet because it contains nothing but natural starchy carbohydrates.
There are a lot of rabbits out there suffering from intestinal problems from corn husks, if they’ve eaten a certain amount and their faeces are basically pieces of corn husks you probably need emergency veterinary care; some rabbits are lucky and some are not.
The rabbit is a lagomorph, not a rodent. Rabbits have unique and very delicate digestive systems and while being herbivores, they have very different dietary needs than other herbivores. The digestive tract of the rabbit looks more like that of a horse than that of a rodent so it needs large quantities of low-energy foods, such as fiber, they can suffer more than many other animals from excess starch. and fat.
This is why corn (fresh, dried, or cooked) is not safe for rabbits. Rabbits have an exceptional organ called the cecum in which the fibers ferment to ensure a regular intestinal flow it’s necessary to provide them with a lot of vegetable fibers (mainly hay), in this way the stomach and cecum will empty properly, on the contrary, partially digested food would remain stationary in the intestine for a long period and risk causing gastrointestinal stasis and other stomach-related health problems.
Always remember that corn kernels with their rinds are completely indigestible for rabbits.
Why does eating the right food matter so much to keep a rabbit healthy?
A poor diet is the number one cause of digestive problems in rabbits. Keeping starchy or non-digestible foods such as corn husks away from their diet can greatly reduce the risk of potentially fatal diseases such as gastrointestinal stasis. Most of a rabbit’s diet should consist of foods rich in cellulose, such as hay and green leafy vegetables.
Never give your rabbit junk food. Always avoid: corn flakes, corn chips, cornbread, cooked corn, corn on the cob, popcorn but also all foods rich in starch or sugars such as legumes, beans (of any kind), peas, corn, oats, wheat, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, bread, nuts, pasta, potatoes, or seeds. Also avoid any junk food like crackers, chips, chocolate, cookies, or any other type of refined sugar.
If your rabbit has ingested corn (or another food from the list above) and has bloating, gas or constipation (no longer producing droppings), contact a veterinarian immediately. Any starchy, caloric, low-cellulose food is nutritionally useless to a rabbit, the starch contained in corn and rinds could cause a digestive crisis.
When it comes to feeding vegetables to rabbits you should only give them greens and green leafy greens that you know are safe for them, an ideal serving is about one cup a day with various vegetables to supplement their usual diet.