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The National Ferret School


We are the only professional ferret school in the world, established in 1982, and we run a variety of courses on every aspect of ferrets and ferreting.

Situated on the outskirts of the Derbyshire village of Ashover, with over 15 acres of our own beautiful Peak District land, we also have access to over 3,000 acres of local farm land where we run our rabbiting and hawking days.

The ferret (Mustela putorius furo) is a domesticated form of the European polecat (Mustela putorius), and has been used by humans for over 2,000 years to hunt rabbits.  The rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) was introduced to Britain by the Romans in the First Century AD, as food for the marching Legions.  The ferret is the perfect animal to use to bolt the coney from their underground warren, and many of these animals would be carried by the legionnaires to ensure they could have rabbit stew for supper.

In recent times, the ferret has also been used for many other purposes.  As a pet, the ferret is extremely popular, and the furry, fun-loving mustelid is the second most popular pet in the USA (after the cat).  Although popular mythology would have us believe the ferret is a nasty, treacherous animal which will bite any human finger within reach, this is totally untrue.

Our ferrets are handled from a very young age, and are completely trustworthy.


With a long, lean and extremely flexible body, the ferret was traditionally used for rabbiting, where European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are flushed from underground warrens.  The ferret’s Latin name translates to “thieving, smelly weasel”, and this smell makes the rabbits bolt from their underground refuge.

Ferrets love making their way through tunnels and pipes to find what lies at the other end, driven only by their innate curiosity.  Humans use the term “ferret” to denote a tireless search, and ferrets are persistent in their quest to find out what is at the end of a tunnel, pipe or duct.

The combination of the ferret’s characteristics makes the animal ideal to help humans in many endeavours, and we utilise them in engineering and agricultural projects.

Company Background

James McKay, DirectorJames McKay, director of the company, is recognised internationally as a leading authority on ferrets and their uses in industry and agriculture.  With worldwide experience of ferrets, James – a zoologist – has written several books on the subject.

The Company has extensive expertise and experience, combined with an array of specialist tools and equipment, to ensure our service is the leader in the field.

Our Services

Our team – humans and ferrets – have vast experience of working on construction sites and farms, threading cables and draw ropes, as well as locating blockages in underground drains and, of course, their traditional role to help us get the main ingredient for rabbit pie


We also run training courses where you can learn everything you need to know about keeping and working with ferrets and you will find on these pages information on the care and handling of ferrets.

Our Ferret Roadshow sister site handles our display events and if you're looking for fund-raising events, have a look at our ferret racing with Flat Caps and Ferrets!

Contact Us to discuss your needs.