The System Dynamics method applied to research in maternal-filial behaviour beef cattle. — ASN Events

The System Dynamics method applied to research in maternal-filial behaviour beef cattle. (#907)

Luciandra Toledo 1 , Mateus Paranhos da Costa , Luis Alberto Ambrósio
  1. Instituto de Zootecnia/APTA/SAA, Nova Odessa, SãO PAULO, Brazil
The cow-calf dyad formation starts immediately after calving with the calf's
behaviour stimulating the maternal functions. As consequence the maternal
behaviour generates the necessary care to achieve the goals of physical and
psychological calf development. In the period between calving and first
sucking identifies three phases of development of dyadic behaviour. The
phase I occur in period between the birth until the calf to stand; The phase
II comprises the period when the calf is standing up to find the udder; and
the phase III covers the period between calf find the udder to effective
sucking. The duration of these phases suffers intense influences, of the
environment, the dyad and the individual factors which affect the
maternal-filial behaviour in beef cattle. This paper proposes an original
uses of system dynamics method in animal behaviour research. The building of
dynamic models helps improve the understanding of the relationships of the
complex dynamics of dyad formation in different environmental conditions
involved in the system in the birth period until the first sucking. The
conceptual model, using causal loop diagram, found that the cow-calf
relationships form a positive feedback loop that controls a virtuous cycle
of dyad formation. A negative feedback loop associated with goal latency for
each system condition controls the process until there the first sucking.
The conceptual model has been the basis for the build of the computational
model using the compartments flow diagram. The computational model simulated
the dynamics of dyadic behaviour in different environmental scenarios. The
model was validated with observational data of calving cows of different
breeds of beef cattle and with different parities. The simulated results
mimic the adverse effects of environmental conditions on the duration of
each phase of dyad development, as observed under field conditions. We
conclude that the system dynamics models can be used for "in silico"
experimentation in particular for designed scenarios to environmental