Could love lead to makin' bacon?

ROMANCE is in the air all over Suffolk today - and not just for people, but also for porkers.

ROMANCE is in the air all over Suffolk today - and not just for people, but also for porkers.

It was hearts and roses, too, for these pigs in love with everyone hoping it will be a relationship which will flourish and produce some lovely little piglets fairly soon.

The pigs in clover are two British saddlebacks owned by Otley College and looked after by students learning about animal husbandry.

While they may not have realised it was Valentine's Day, the great celebration of love, Billy was wooing Pammy, touching snouts - the closest pigs get to kissing - and probably giving her some chat-up lines that only Dr Doolittle would be able to translate.

Experts at the campus admitted though they will probably have to give the courting couple a helping hand with their love affair.

Robert Bamford, Otley's pig aficionado and match-maker, said: “Romance of sorts was definitely in the air down at our large animal unit. I have to admit that the first meeting was a feisty affair.

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“But we bought some Milk Tray chocolates along to try and lighten the mood and it seemed to do the job. On a serious note, we are hopeful that this particularly breeding programme will be a success.

“If it is, this will be our third litter and it is a great opportunity for our animal studies learners to find out more about breeding and the handling of large animals.”

Mr Bamford, section leader for animal studies at the college, said it takes three months, three weeks and three days for a sow to produce a litter - it is hoped piglets will be born in time for Otley's Big Day Out and the Suffolk Show - and commercial pigs usually produce two or more litters a year.

“Here we are not so intensive so our pigs produce one litter a year - it's all about our students learning about animal husbandry, caring for the animals, breeding them and so on,” he said.

“We may use artificial means to get Billy and Pammy to mate because that is all part of the course for the students.”

How are you celebrating Valentine's Day - are you doing something special? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTFACTS: Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day - February 14 - is celebrated worldwide as a day when lovers express their love for one another.

Cards, flowers and chocolates are the traditional gifts sent to each other.

In Victorian times it was said to be bad luck to sign a Valentine - and many are still sent anonymously.

The day is named after early Christian martyrs and was first celebrated in Roman times to herald the start of a fertility festival, but it was not until the middle ages that it became popular in England.

The first Valentine card is said to have been written by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London after being captured at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.

It is estimated that one billion Valentine cards are sent each year worldwide.

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