Can Guinea Pigs Eat Corn?

Can Willow Eat It? …Yes!

It’s closing in on warm weather which means most of the Once Upon a Wheek team will be enjoying an assortment of BBQ and grilled items including a crowd favorite – corn. Luckily, it’s also a favorite sweet treat for our guineas! So yes! Guinea pigs can eat corn, but you need to be aware of what you can and cannot feed them.

The best part? Even if you want all the sweet corn kernels for yourself, you can still make your own guinea happy by giving them the parts you wouldn’t eat anyway. If you’re creative, or have some extra time on your hands, you can even make them toys or some boredom busters from the husks (see below under ‘Getting Creative’).

Remember – wash the corn thoroughly before giving any part to your guineas!

 

How Often Can Guinea Pigs Have Corn?

Inner Corn Husk, Corn Hairs, and Corn Kernels

Edible parts of the corn for guinea pigs include the inner corn husk/leaves, corn hair, and corn kernels.

Raw corn on the cob kernels can be fed to guinea pigs as a treat 1-2 times a week. Due to the amount of starch in the kernels, you don’t want to feed it anymore than that. Cooked corn is not okay because they aren’t able to digest cooked vegetables or food. Raw corn in any sort of can or in a juice is also something to avoid due to the amount of salt content. The added salt and other ingredients aren’t good for your pet.

Some parts of the corn on the cob can be given daily. This include the inner husk (the outer husk is not recommended due to the use of pesticides and therefore should be discarded) and the corn silk/hairs (cut off and discard any parts that hang unprotected from the husk due to exposure to pesticides). The nutrient value of husks are similar to hay and grass, so this is great for them to have due to the fiber and helping grind down their teeth! Corn hair has also been proven to be good for their bladders.

Guinea pigs will not eat the middle part – the part we always throw away – so once they seem finished, make sure to toss it away in the trash.

Corn Husks

Why Shred the Corn Husks?

Shredded inner corn husk.

Some shredded corn husk for the guineas.

Corn husks are pretty tough. While guinea pigs can certainly chew through that fibrous husk, tearing them up into thinner long pieces makes the it easier for them to eat the pieces with less effort. We find that Willow and Cora will eat more of it, and enjoy it more, when we shred them up. The pieces don’t have to be super thin, but we like the width of a large blade of grass. It’s not an exact science, so if some are wider or thinner than the others, that’s okay!

Should the Corn Husks Be Dried Out?

There are two ways you can feed your guineas the husks.

Bag of shredded corn husks

Bag of shredded corn husks.

If you plan to feed it within the next few days, you can place them in a bag and seal it to keep them tender. If you want them to last longer you can leave them out to dry before putting them in a bag to save for later. It’s essentially like hay at that point, so you can feed it whenever you’d like!

All the guineas at Once Upon a Wheek love both dried or fresh.

How Do You Dry Out Corn Husks?

They can dry out pretty quickly! Dry them off from any water that’s on them from your washing. Leave them out on the counter to dry out. If you want to place them outside in the sun, this is also a good idea if you have a way to make sure they don’t get blown away.

Tip: The thinner they are, the faster they dry out.

Getting Creative

Hanging some fresh husk pieces on the side of the cage for Willow and Milo to tug and have fun with.

Sometimes we like to spend some extra time making boredom busters for our furry potatoes. Whether or not you can braid, weave, or you’re not really great with crafts, we can guarantee that your guinea won’t mind – they just want the end result – a tasty and fun treat!

Whatever you decide to do with the husks – you can hang it on the side of the grid (tying it up on the cage with the husk itself so your pig can pull on it and enjoy a challenge), place it on the ground, make a ‘puff ball’ and use other husk pieces to hang it from the ceiling so they have to try to eat and pull it as it moves – you can be sure that the little wheekers will appreciate and love you for it.

Here are some fun things you can do with the shredded husks, but remember, the only limitation is you and your imagination!

Braiding corn husks is an easy, fun, and simple thing you can do.

Fun options: Tying together some loose pieces, weaving a design (we opted for a carrot look here but woven mats, balls, or even other designs are fun and create a great challenge for you!), or braiding.

Demolishing the woven carrot – less than 10 minutes in. Willow sure knows how to tear it up…

 

Willow and Milo stuffing their faces with corn hair.

What About You?

What about you and your pets? Do you feed them corn, corn hairs, and the husk? Have you done anything fun or creative with your husks? Let us know below!

 

 

 

Boredom Buster: Veggie Kebab

The veggie kebab is one of the more fun and exciting boredom busters our furry family members can have.

How to Make It

  • Gather the correct materials
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    Enjoying a carrot piece. Yum!

    • The kebab: metal, appropriate wooden skewer (with the sharp point cut off after skewering), or a willow stick
    • Something to put on the end of the kebab so everything doesn’t fall off such as cardboard, a carrot piece, or etc (not required if hanging kebab horizontal)
    • Veggies and/or fruits your guinea pig or rabbit likes: Remember! Fruits are a treat, so go easy on them!
    • Something to tie up the kebab: string, yarn, wire, zip tie, twist tie, etc
  • Make the kebab
    • Wash all the fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
    • Cut fruits and vegetables big enough so pieces so there’s enough of a rim between the center and the outside.
    • If you’re using a skewer, you can use the sharp end to skewer the fruits and vegetables. If not, use a knife and cut a square big enough for the stick to pass through. For carrots, we took the knife and spun it in the center of the carrot slice on one side, turned the carrot slice over, and did it on the other side to make a big enough hole. For lettuce/romaine, cut a slit in the center and put the stick through.
    • Slide on the fruits and vegetables in any order. For pieces like parsley, cilantro, or etc, gently tie them around the kebab.
      • Tip: Use the leafy side to tie to reduce the chance of it breaking or ripping in half. This part is more flexible!
    • Secure the end piece to the kebab to ensure your furry friend doesn’t just yank the pieces down off the stick.
    • Once satisfied, hang the kebab securely up in the cage!


Our Kebab

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Made with some broccoli pieces, carrots, cilantro, green pepper, and romaine.

For this one we used a willow stick so they can also enjoy the stick itself afterwards, but metal ones from stores also are great since you can reuse them. Some of our members enjoy the metal one best because they can be cleaned thoroughly.

We used romaine, carrot, green pepper, cilantro, and three broccoli pieces. Despite the picture, not all of it went into the kebab and some pieces were saved for another day!

Reminder: Some types of food are best given as treats and not in excess. Broccoli and cauliflower are on that list. These vegetables can cause bloat – so it shouldn’t be given often or in large amounts. 


019Mixing It Up

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Vertical hanging kebab waiting for the hungry cavy to sniff it out.

Not only can you customize this boredom buster in many different ways, but it can be put in the cage in different ways!

  • Vertical
  • Horizontal
  • Diagonal

You can also choose to secure it tightly so it doesn’t swing around, or secure it loosely so that your furry family members has to put a little extra effort to get some great treats.

 

And that’s it! Hope you and your guineas enjoy their little boredom buster!

 

 

 

 

Trick Guinea Pig – Dreaming Big

Willow’s Dream: Trick Guinea Pig

Straight From Willow’s Tunnel

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“How did it end up like this…” It started with a piece of bedding, then hay, then an eraser, and then this (carrots and other foods). Willow’s great at balancing things on his nose!

Did you know that all those animals you see in TV shows and movies are trained? Mom says some are CGI. I’m not sure what that is, but she said it means they aren’t real. They seem real to me, but apparently they aren’t. The other animals though? They are real and very talented! Plus, I learned from my mom when she interned at a zoo that zoo animals are also trained by positive reinforcement. It’s what mom does with my training! (But animals at the zoo still aren’t cuddly. It’s important to remember they still have a bit ‘wild’ and ‘unpredictability’ in them. But, some animals are really well trained and mom said she got to see them at Universal Studios – a place she didn’t take me… I still am a little mad at her about that one.)

So, it got me thinking and I asked mom if I could learn more tricks to compete with the TV stars. I mean, wouldn’t it be so cool to be like a TV star and know the tricks they know? Mom said it’s almost as if she went and took karate and then said she was Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan. I asked her what she was talking about, but she just sighed and told me not to worry about it. Whoever Bruce Lee is or Jackie Chan, I suppose they must be pretty awesome (though I don’t know if mom would be that great as them).

My mom looked up dog tricks and was trying to find a way to modify them when she came across a website called “Do More With Your Dog” that actually has a thing called a “Title Holders List”. It puts down the breed of dog, name of the trainer, name of the dog, what title was earned, and when. BUT! Looking through the list, mom realized that guinea pigs were on there along with a bunch of animals that weren’t actually dogs.

She turned to me and asked if I wanted to join the list. How could I say no?

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