Just like hay, popcorn is very high in fiber. Not only that, but it’s also the perfect tasty snack while watching movies at home. You may have seen videos of bunnies eating popcorn and having the time of their lives. Now you’re probably wondering if it’s safe for your bunny to eat popcorn with you.
Popcorn itself is not a big problem. If fed, it should be in very small quantities such as 1-2 pieces. However, the problem is when the corn kernel itself hasn’t popped fully or is un-popped which can cause intestinal blockages.
Often the extra oils and salt on the popcorn and the quantity that is eaten that is a problem. So can I feed my bunny popcorn? What about other parts of the plant?
Is It Safe For My Bunny To Eat Popcorn?
Contrary to what you may read, popcorn itself when fully popped isn’t something that is going to be fatal to your bunny. The problem with popcorn is the un-popped kernels.
The hull of these kernels are not made of easily digestible cellulose and pectin which plants are usually made out of. Rather they are composed of a complex polysaccharide which bunnies cannot digest .
Since they cannot be digested, they can get stuck in the intestinal tract and cause blockages which can be fatal.
The other issue most bunny owners have with popcorn is all the extra oil and salt that is on the popcorn. This dramatically increases the calorie content of something that is generally low in calories turning it from an innocent treat into a less innocent treat.
Further, this higher fat treat is also paired with higher than usual carbohydrates compared to the usual bunny food such as leafy greens. All of these in combination create a food that can start to move your bunny towards obesity if fed regularly as a treat.
Can My Bunny Eat Sweetcorn?
Sweetcorn falls under the same category as the un-popped kernel husks. While the kernels themselves are softer, the hull cannot be digested. Additionally, sweetcorn is soft so when your bunny gets too excited eating the corn, pieces of corn can be swallowed whole causing intestinal blockages.
An alternative to sweetcorn can be baby corn. Baby corn haven’t developed the hull of the kernel yet. However, it would be advised not to take the risk as there are many other vegetables and treats you could feed instead.
Can My Bunny Eat Corn Cobs?
While the cob of the corn may seem like a tempting chew toy to give to your bunny, they can quickly lead to intestinal blockages. This is regardless if they are fresh or dry.
Can My Bunny Eat Corn Husks?
This is one part of corn that your bunny can eat. However, there are caveats to this. Corn husks are very stringy and hard to chew.
Just like celery, bunnies can get strings stuck in their teeth which can cause serious problems. Secondly, most corn husks are sprayed with pesticides so your bunny is likely ingesting these when being fed the husks.
Some bunny owners like to wrap their chew toys in corn husks. If your bunny just likes to nibble and throw the toy around for some fun, then this practice is probably okay.
Just make sure this corn is sourced locally and you know that it hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides. If your bunny likes to really get in and eat a lot of the husk, it could cause some teeth and digestive problems for your bunny.
Can My Bunny Eat Corn Stalks?
This is probably the safest part of the corn that your bunny can eat. Again, be wary of pesticides used during the mass production of corn. If you can source these locally knowing they haven’t been sprayed then they will be okay.
Wild bunnies actually eat corn plants. However, they just nibble at them much like they do with sticks.
What Are Some Popcorn Treat Alternatives?
Your best alternatives are treats that won’t potentially cause blockages and aren’t covered in extra fats and salt. Funnily enough, what we consider healthy food as humans are what bunnies consider yummy treats! Pieces of fruit and other leafy and non-leafy green vegetables make the best treats.
Check out our “What Can Your Bunny Eat and Not Eat” article for a full list of safe fruits and vegetables you can feed your bunny.
If you want to get a little creative to treat your bunny, you can spice things up by creating a frozen treat especially if it’s a hot day. Freeze your bunny’s favourite fruit pieces or place them in some water and freeze them into ice cubes.
You can also place your treats at the bottom of a box then fill it with shredded paper or hay to create a digging game. If you’re creative enough, there are plenty of ways to create fun for your bunny using the same, healthy treats rather than resorting to something that may be harmful.
While popcorn is not toxic for your bunny, the kernel hull itself is indigestible. When the corn is popped, the hull is broken into the fluffy pieces we cover in butter and salt.
The fluffy popcorn pieces are okay for your bunny to eat but un-popped pieces can very likely cause problems with intestinal blockages.
Other parts of the corn such as the husk and stalk are okay to nibble on but there can be a worry of pesticides that have been sprayed. Just because it says organic doesn’t mean they haven’t used pesticides. It just means they use organic pesticides.
Your best bet is to avoid popcorn altogether as there are much safer, healthier options that you can feed your bunny to ensure they stay healthy and happy.