Ferret School


The National Ferret School is the only organisation of its kind, and exists to teach interested people about all aspects of ferrets - from keeping them as pets to using them for pest control; from breeding show winners, to working ferrets with trained hawks to put wholesome food on the table.W

e keep a large number of ferrets and hawks at the School, and our courses are carefully and thoughtfully designed to ensure that you find out everything needed, and enjoy yourself at the same time. It really is an experience to remember all of your life!

We cater for students of all ages, backgrounds and competencies.

Courses are run at the National Ferret School, situated in the heart of the Derbyshire Peaks ("Peak Practice" country), a short distance from the famous Chatsworth Estate, home of the Duke & Duchess of Devonshire.

In addition, some courses are run in various parts of the UK. Students attending the whole of a weekend course may be able to experience night time methods of rabbit control, at no extra cost. On some courses, basic hostel-style accommodation may also be available at a small extra cost.

Practical Ferreting - One or Two Day Course

Ferrets were originally bred for hunting animals such as rabbits, and this aspect of the animal is increasing in popularity, a growth fed by the rapidly increasing rabbit population. Ferreting for rabbits is an excellent method of controlling (in a totally natural way) a pest species, putting wholesome and nutritious food on the table, and even earning a living.

After a morning session in the classroom, you will be taken to carry out some practical ferreting operation (for rabbits) on local farms and estates. This course will really put some mud on your boots!

Subjects covered on this course include;

The History of Ferreting
The Natural History of the Rabbit
The Selection of Ferrets Suitable for Rabbiting
Selection & Use of Equipment
The Law
Ferreting Under Instruction
Despatch and Preparation of Quarry

Relevant equipment - and even ferrets! - can be borrowed, at no extra cost, from the School. Regular question and answer sessions in the classroom, along with full supervision and guidance in the field, ensure that everyone gets all the information they need.

Suitable for anyone interested in working their ferrets, whether a complete novice or an experienced practitioner. All participants are given a Course Handbook. A certificate is issued on completion of the course.

The course costs £125/£75* per person per day. *Under 16s

Ferret Husbandry - One Day Course

If you are going to keep an animal, you should find out as much about it as possible before it arrives. What better way to do this than to complete a course run by professionals who know all about ferrets and their ways?

The course can best be described as a "book in a day", and covers all aspects of ferret keeping.

Regular question and answer sessions ensure that everyone gets all the information they need, and it goes without saying that the National Ferret School's staff are completely up-to-date with all aspects of their subjects.

Subjects covered on this course include;

The History of the Ferret
Feeding & Nutrition
Genetics & Breeding
Selecting and Buying Stock
Illnesses and First Aid
The Law

Suitable for anyone interested in ferrets, whether as a pet, a working animal, or for show purposes. All participants are given a Course Handbook. A certificate is issued on completion of the course.

The course costs £125/£75* per person for the day. *Under 16s


Tha National Ferret School


“Absolutely fascinating.........I wouldn't have believed the constant crowds around the display!”

Crafts Fair Organiser, London Area

Ferrets have an undeniable attraction to people of all ages and all backgrounds, and crowds are guaranteed around the ferret display at any event, providing the display is well-organised, inter-active and - above all - of a highly professional standard.

Today's sophisticated public expect and demand the highest standards from displays and exhibitions, and Ferret Roadshow, the mobile display unit of National Ferret School, ensures that this demand is met.  There are, of course, other organisations and individuals who undertake displays involving ferrets, and some of these are very good.  However, Ferret Roadshow, established in 1982, is the one which others seek to emulate.  Over the years, Ferret Roadshow has received many accolades and awards, letters of thanks and general 'pats on the back' from event organisers, sponsors and members of the public.

Ferret Roadshow always presents a professional and top class image which is ideally suited to all types of events - from country fairs to garden fêtes; agricultural shows to pet shows; village galas to specialised displays.  The format and content of the display is tailored to suit each audience.

It is often said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and, if that is true, then Ferret Roadshow has been - and continues to be - extremely flattered.  However, imitations can only ever be second best, and Ferret Roadshow will not rest on its laurels, continuing to improve its services, and ensuring that it keeps the number one position as the most professional display of its kind, giving exceptional value for money and providing an attraction second-to-none.  Ferret Roadshow will give an extra dimension and a fascinating attraction at your event.

Why not chat through your requirements and see what we can offer you?

The Man

“A true enthusiast whose passion for his subject is infectious.”

Fête Organiser, Lincolnshire

The man behind Ferret Roadshow is zoologist, author, writer and broadcaster James McKay.  James is an articulate and captivating speaker who has had over 30 years' experience of ferrets and ferreting, and enjoys an international reputation as one of the foremost authorities on the subject, being known in many quarters as "The Ferret Meister".  Former Chief Executive of the UK’s National Federation of Zoos, James is a professional lecturer, and founder of the UK’s National Ferret School; the School’s motto is "Improving the ferret's lot through education", aptly summing up its raison d’être.

Throughout Ferret Roadshow events, James – a scientific fellow of the Zoological Society of London – talks authoritatively and entertainingly about both ferrets and ferreting, his many years of practical experience, boundless energy and infectious enthusiasm of the subject showing.  He knows his animals well, and the rapport between animal and handler is clear for all to see.  This relationship ensures that the animals are easy and safe for anyone to handle.  James will not allow the public to put either themselves or the ferrets at risk in any way.

James is so concerned about the welfare of both ferrets and public that, under the auspices of National Ferret School, he produced and published a code of conduct for organisers of ferret displays, and this Code is recognised as being an extremely useful and influential tool for both exhibitors and event organisers.

Ferret Roadshow stand is open to the public throughout the event, and people are actively encouraged to participate and ask questions on all aspects of ferrets and ferreting - whether these questions are based on practical considerations, or are purely academic.

The Service

“A non-stop show which attracted crowds of people throughout the three days.”

Show Secretary, Wales

Ferret Roadshow presents:

Entertaining and educational talks, illustrated with living animals;
The opportunity for the public to handle ferrets;
An on-going inter-active display;
Informative static displays;
Main- and/or side-ring/countryside area events.

The objective of Ferret Roadshow displays is to entertain visitors to the event, and this is achieved by various methods, all of which combine talk with the opportunity to both see and handle the ferrets themselves.  These inter-active displays are complimented by a static interpretative display of photographs, drawings and equipment.

The Equipment

“It was heartening to see such a professional standard of presentation and equipment.”

Country Fair Organiser, Midlands

Ferret Roadshow has a variety of equipment, all purpose-made to very high standards and infinitely suitable for the task.  The whole display reflects a professional image and attitude with which any organisation would be happy to be associated.  Ramshackle cages and other equipment - so often seen with other organisations - have no place with Ferret Roadshow, and no-one else offers such a comprehensive and professional display and service.

Ferret Roadshow equipment includes;

Purpose built, variable size display pen (from 1 metre square to 4 metres by 4 metres);
Nest boxes, which allow access to the animals, while still providing the animals with shelter;
Large selection of tame and handleable animals, ensuring availability for every appearance;
Large display of informative photographs and drawings;
Display of ferret and ferreting equipment, including antique equipment.

All Ferret Roadshow equipment is designed to ensure the safety and comfort of both ferrets and public, while at the same time facilitating the public's viewing of the animals and the antics of the ferrets.

For further information, please contact us.