Petra's Story


Fluttering yellow creatures cover the barn floor, feeding greedily and huddling together under heat lamps for warmth. Mexican farmer Petra Matías Mateo looks on with pride. 

Petra has become an expert in caring for these fragile day-old chicks, often seen as a symbol of new life. And, in fact, they have helped Petra grow her own life – and that of her family.

“I’ve learnt how to help them survive through the first stage of life when they are so delicate,” says Petra. At the same time, Petra is proud that she’s helped her own family survive, too. 


Before they started breeding chicks, the doors and windows of Petra’s home were made from plastic sheets and the bare floor attracted dust and mud. The family, which includes Petra’s seven children and her husband, were often cold and had breathing problems from the dust. Sometimes they could only afford to eat beans.

When Petra’s eldest children, Noe and Fredy were still young, they went with her to buy chickens from another farmer. “My kids were told to clean their shoes before they entered the gallery where the chicks were”, Petra retells the story. “I was humiliated because the place was so dirty”. That’s when she decided to raise her own chicks rather than experience this again.

Petra borrowed US$350 from our MFI in Mexico to build platforms to house the chicks. Gradually, and with several more small loans, she was able to buy incubators to care for the baby chicks she breeds and feeds with maize.

Now, the family has enough space to raise 13,500 chickens. They employ 12 local people and have clients from surrounding communities who buy the chickens to resell them. Their home has windows, a door, painted walls and a tiled floor.

Petra’s two sons, Noé (27 years old) and Fredy (26 years old) have also made a living from breeding and selling chickens. They help run the business and have their own clients. Both have built their own homes on their parents’ farm and Noe and his wife have now begun raising their own little family. 

PETRA's Photos


Petra's Story