Can rabbits eat corn on the cob?
No, rabbits cannot eat corn on the cob. Rabbits cannot properly digest corn in any form whether it be loose from a can, frozen from a bag or freshly picked and still on the cob. Each corn kernel contains a hull which is an outer shell or coating of a seed. Rabbits cannot digest the hull. This is not the same thing as the husk you see on corn. The husk is the green leaves that you pull off of corn on the cob to expose the corn.
Why can’t rabbits eat corn on the cob
Rabbits are unable to digest corn because they do not contain the enzymes in their GI tract to break down the hull. As a human being, you may have noticed that we also do not contain the enzymes to digest corn properly. Our bodies do not contain the enzyme to break down the cellulose that is found on the outer layer of corn. As humans’ we have the capability to evacuate the corn kernels whole. Rabbits cannot do this; the corn kernels are too big for their digestive tract and will almost certainly cause blockage if eaten in quantity.
Why some rabbit food has corn in it
You may be asking yourself, if corn is so bad for rabbits, then why is it in their food? I can assure you, if corn is listed as an ingredient in your rabbit’s pellets then you should not be purchasing this type/brand of food for your rabbit and here are some reasons why:
- As mentioned above, it cannot be digested by your rabbit.
- Even if corn is ground up into your rabbit’s pellets, therefore it is not big enough to cause a blockage, it is still very unhealthy for your rabbit. Corn is full of starch, carbohydrates, and sugar. All things that your rabbit does not need in their diet.
- Corn also contains mycotoxins which can cause diarrhea, liver disease and even death in rabbits.
- Your rabbits GI tract has more similarity to one of a mule than it does to a rodent. Their body needs bigger amounts of foods that are quite low in energy, like fiber foods such as hay. They can suffer greatly by eating foods like corn that contain so much sugar, starch, and fat.
What should I do if my rabbit ate corn?
First and foremost, do not panic! Although rabbits cannot digest corn it is possible that they will pass it with no issues. If your rabbit does not appear to be in any distress, then just keep an eye on their poop to:
1) See if they have passed the corn.
2) To ensure they are still pooping properly and have not developed diarrhea.
3) To make sure they have not stopped pooping all together.
If your rabbit seems to be in any distress at all such as hiding when the normally wouldn’t, being stand offish and acting different (rabbits are prey animals so they will not show typical signs of distress when they are in pain or danger as they fear showing weakness.) It is also possible that you can identify bloating by feeling their bellies.
You can also identify if they have diarrhea or have stopped pooping completely. If your rabbit stops pooping this means they are likely in GI stasis or will be soon. A rabbit who goes 12-24 hours without pooping is in serious trouble. If you notice any of these things, then it is critical to get them to a vet as soon as possible. These are all indicators that your rabbit is suffering from some sort of blockage. This is something a vet can assist with, but you must act fast. There are medications they can administer to your rabbit to assist them in alleviating the blockage. They can also perform surgery if necessary.
Can rabbits eat corn husks?
This is a controversial subject. Some say yes, some say no but based upon my research and experience with rabbits over the past 20 plus years my opinion is no. There is nothing harmful in a corn husk, it is mostly made up of fiber and can be digested by your rabbit with no real issue.
The issue lies in the texture and make up of the actual husk itself. It, like celery, is very stringy and can be quite a choking hazard for rabbits. Celery is also not typically recommended by vets due to the choking hazard. As for us, we like to error on the side of caution therefore we do not recommend feeding your rabbit corn husks, or celery for that matter. Neither of these items are things I would give Mr. Bunny, my current pet rabbit, and he is not missing much by not having them, so why risk it?
About the Author
My name is Vanessa and I love my buns. My current house rabbit is Mr. Bunny, he is a black and white Dutch that just turned 9 years old.
I believe that rabbits are a magnificent animal that make great pets for SOME people. My mission is to share what I have learned about rabbits over the past 20 years to improve the relationship between our pets and us. Please contact me or comment if you have any questions or comments.