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 yummy corn kernels for yourself, you can still make your 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 some toys or 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?
Edible parts of the corn for guinea pigs include the inner corn husk/leaves, corn hair, and corn kernels.
Raw kernels on the cob 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 them anymore than that. Cooked corn is not okay because they aren’t able to digest cooked vegetables. Raw corn in any sort of can or in a juice is also something to avoid due to the amount of salt. The added salt and other ingredients aren’t good for your pet.
Some parts of the corn on the cob can be given daily. These 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 is similar to hay and grass, so this is great for them to have because of 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.
Why Shred the Corn Husks?
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 it easier for guinea pigs 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.
If you plan to feed it to them within the next few days, you can place the husks 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 husks.
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. Placing them outside in the sun 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.
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 do other 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 them on the side of the grid (tying them up on the cage 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 husk? Have you done anything fun or creative with your husks? Let us know below!