Welcome to Alaya Retreat Centre

Alaya chicken project

Alaya Retreat Centre is no ordinary retreat centre, but one that has been integrated within an old Catalan wine farm. It has white light blooming from the sala to the swimming pool and back down to the wine celler. It extends up to the bourgainvilla and down to the garden and around again. It has a healing presence scattered like seeds around the herb patch and petals around the blossom trees. It has community weaving its support from the kitchen to the dining table and back down to the ground.

In all, Alaya Retreat Centre is an expansive energy field, nestled between the Penedes vineyards, preparing space to heal, connect and to become part of the cycle of oneness. And in tune with that rhythm, the volunteers, the staff and the guests that pass through the centre, too, become nestled into the life of the masia.

And in all good faith to continue on with that intention, Ellen and the team decided one February afternoon to set out on a new mission. That was to invite and home four beautiful chickens at the masia. We already had six dogs, several cats and one pig and felt it time to extend the family.

That afternoon, Ellen, Pierluigi and Anneka set out in their white van to the local Vilafranca market. Occupied by farmers, winemakers and bricksbrack stalls, we came across a known farmer that was selling ducks and chickens. And like any decent farmer would, he brought with him various shapes, sizes, colours and quacks.

Keen to find the right chickens for Alaya, we spoke first to the chickens and then to the professionals. After very little debate, we decided upon four females, our queens now named Maxima, Victoria, Letitia and Beatrix.

Maxima has an orange neck and beautiful black feathers that change tone under the sunlight.

Victoria is white with a very long, yet elegant ruffled neck collar.

Letitia is small and delicate with very fine polka dot colours but looks a bit frail and anorexic. We will make sure she eats well. Beatrix, is grayish at the wings and white under the belly, just like Maxima¨s mother in law.

With their health and happiness in tact, all four queens joined us on our route back to the masia.

With a very important stop-off at the building store, FECA to get some wood, chicken wire, a feeder and a drinking bowl.

Much to the delight of the four queens, their home was delicately being prepared by Leo and the other volunteeers. While they made peace with their environment.

One by one, Maxima, Letitia, Beatrix and Victoria curtly admired their new palace. While the rest of us at Alaya admired our new company.

But what was it all for, this growth and this change? It was, fundamentally, part of the life and philosophy of Alaya Retreat centre. To live together in peace and harmony. To embrace all creatures with kindness and respect. To integrate into our environment and exist from sustainable sources. To eat local and be well.

Nowadays, Maxima, Letitia, Beatrix and Victoria are producing eggs daily. They enjoy their new home, are very peaceful and get along with everyone.

For now, there’s four in the pen, but watch this space, we may be expanding the pack in the near future. And who knows maybe the eggs served to you for breakfast are produced by one of our queens….

All our love

Alaya Retreat Centre

(Author, Anneka Lott)

Comments are closed.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap