Maize, corn or Z. mays refers to the cereal grains that grow on a long leafy, grass-like, plant that produces large kernels found on a cob. It can be white, yellow or other colors including a mixture of oranges, yellows, reds, purples, browns oranges with the dent (field), flint (Indian), pod, flour, sweet corn, and popcorns the popular types.
Whereas is it a fruit, in culinary terms, it can be a vegetable when eaten with the cob while if you get the corn kernels, it is considered a whole grain. Popcorns are a variety that expands and puffs or pops when heated
Some of the benefits of maize include being a source of proteins, fibers, copper, zinc, vitamin B-6, potassium, and niacin. Also, its lutein and zeaxanthin will help improve eye vision, and its fiber can help lower LDL cholesterol (bad). Do not forget, has antioxidants and so on.
Do rabbits eat corn kernels
No. Rabbits should not eat corn whether it is raw or cooked, fresh or dried. Avoid giving your bunnies any seeds. As Bio.miami.edu warns, “corn kernels have hulls that are indigestible to a rabbit and can cause life-threatening intestinal impactions/blockages.”
Why is the hull indigestible? Because it has a type of complex polysaccharide, which your rabbit cannot digest. A bunny’s digestive system can effectively digest foods that have cellulose and pectin which most plant cell walls have.
If you give your rabbit maize, intestinal problems including impaction due to the corn hulls that are indigestible are possible. Even after treatment, your bunnies will have fecal pellets that have some solid hulls proving that rabbits cannot digest them well.
It is not just the risk of impaction and blockages you should worry you. However, like most cereals, it has high amounts of carbohydrates and sugars which are unhealthy for rabbits.
High sugars and carbohydrates can lead to intestinal disturbances and problems including stomach upsets, loose feces, gas as well as other long-term effects.
Other reasons why corn is not recommended include the following:
- There is a possibility of corn having mycotoxins especially the Aflatoxin and Fumonisin which can be harmful to bunnies.
- Most of the maize grown in America has genetically been modified making it hard to quantify the possible side effect to your furry critters.
Note that some rabbit pellets may contain dried and milled corn as one of their ingredients. This may not have any problems if the pellets have low sugar and fat content. Bunnies do not eat foods that have high fats, sugars or starches.
Can rabbits eat corn cobs?
Besides their grains, you may fall into the temptation of giving your rabbits corn cobs. Bunnies should not eat maize cobs. Smallpetselect.com warns that “they can lead to impaction very quickly, even if they do like they’d provide some good chewing.”
Therefore, avoid giving them cobs, even if they are still fresh. They are not recommended for the already states reasons. Besides, they may present a chewing problem especially if they have fully matured or dry.
Yes, rabbits can eat corn husks!
Yes, but only if the word ‘husks’ refers to the leafy outer covering of maize cob. They are safe for your bunnies. They will be a good source of fiber, and you can wrap them into chew toys for your rabbits.
However, you should not confuse them with the seed shell or coat, often referred to as to a ‘hull.’ We have already mentioned that they are not safe and may cause blockages and digestion problems.
Can rabbits eat popcorns
No. Do not give popcorns for rabbits even though they are not toxic. Whereas they may sound like a healthy snack for human beings, they are not suitable for your furry friends.
Besides the various additives including salt and fats which are not suitable for rabbit’s they present similar problems that kernels that have not been popped have. Giving them to your furry friends may cause intestinal problems we have mentioned.
Besides, their high starch, sugars and fat content might not be healthy to your bunnies which rely on foods that have high fiber (cellulose), and low starch and fats. Besides, high carbs may cause overweight and obesity. As Mshable.com notes, “if you're a bunny owner yourself, it's best to keep your long-eared friend's salty, buttery snacks to an absolute minimum. “
Obesity in rabbits often reduces their ability to groom, which may reduce their lifespan as well as other overweight-related health problems.
What about corn stalks and leaves
Yes, they can eat corn stalks. As American Poultry Advocate, Volume 27 states “We begin feeding them green corn stalks to the rabbit as soon as we have used the corn for a table.” They can eat even the dry stalk so long as they are not moldy or too ripe.
However, you need to worry about the possible herbicides, pesticides and insecticides these may contain unless gotten from an organic source.
Wild rabbits will eat corn plants. However, it is not one of their most preferred foods. They will only nibble it a little bit.
It is clear what part of maize your bunnies can much. The hulls and stalks or leaves only. The cob and kernels should not be given to your furry friend as they are harmful.
An ideal diet for rabbits should contain over 80% hay, about 5% high-quality fiber and the rest should be fresh foods especially leafy greens that rabbits eat. You can also give them treats of non-leafy vegetables as well as some safe fruits.