It is one our oldest breeds that has its origins when the Turks lived in Central Asia. Demkeş is one of our voice breeds that has its roots in Anatolia (Asian part of Turkey) for about 1000 years. Around the world these type of birds are known as "Trumpeters". There are many variations of trumpeters around the globe. Out of these breeds Demkeş is closest to Bokhara trumpeters. Demkeş happens to be one of the breeds Bokharas were created from and have many similarities to this breed, but also some differences. Today in Turkey there are 3 main voice breeds exist: These are Demkeş, Ankut and Kumru. Ankut and Demkeş being closely related to each other have their roots in the area today called Turkmenistan. In reality Ankuts and Demkeş' look very similar to each other. There are three main differences between these breeds: First of them is the color of Ankuts. Besides what we call scarlet coffee color, there are no other colors exists in the breed. In Demkeş breed there are many colors exist. Second difference is the larger size of the Demkeş compared to Ankut. The last and the most important difference is the voice of these birds. Kumru is more related to Arabian trumpeter compared to these two.
The common point of these three breeds is what we call "dem çekme" in other words their singing. This terminology is used in the mystic music of Sufism and in general in Turkish music, where an instrument accompanies the singer alone in solo sections of the songs. This is done to prevent the singer to loose his/her note. The name Demkeş comes from this term in the meaning of one that is built for it. We can't say the breed is widely kept throughout the country. Its breeders are not in the numbers of the past and slowly getting less and less.Demkeş with Ankut
Demkeş is mentioned in almost all of the old literature. One can conclude that it was a widely kept popular breed of those times. The way it is described tells us it was a rather valuable breed in the past. Evliya Çelebi talks about Demkeş in his writings about İstanbul and says in 1638 it was raised in this city. Even only based on his writings we can easily say Demkeş has existed in Turkey for 400 years. However, their undocumented past goes far beyond 400 years. Origin of Demkeş lies in the steppes of Central Asia where Turks lived and traveled with migrating Turks at the beginning of year 1000s towards west. During these migrations both Demkeş and Ankut was introduced to Russian lands by Turkish tribes traveling that direction. It is a known fact that the city of Bokhara's, located within the borders of today's Uzbekistan, religious structures contained trumpeter breeds that were given to its religious leaders by the Turks of Central Asia. These religious men of Bokhara worked diligently on the physical qualities of these birds for further changes. In relation to this in several Russian writings the origin of Bokhara Trumpeter is shown as such. However, it is not perfectly clear in these writings if Demkeş or Ankut was used in these works or both in the same time. Only fact is, through works of these gentlemen the breed known as the Bokhara Trumpeter around the globe or as we call it Buhara and at times Buhara Demkeş was introduced to the pigeon breeds.
I ran into the use of "Buhara Demkeş" terminology in pigeon bazaars and a writing dated 1932. This naming can also be an indication of Bokhara Trumpeters being an physically improved version of Demkeş. Bokhara was introduced to Europe around the middle of 1800s through Russia. To our knowledge it was started to be kept in England in 1865, Germany in 1872 and France in 1883. This breed was known as the Russian Trumpeter at that time and got its Bokhara Trumpeter name in later years. Most of today's trumpeters in Europe were created by crosses with Bokhara. It would not be wrong to say that the origin of these breeds are really the Demkeş. This is primarily true with English Trumpeter and the Double Crested German Trumpeter.
Today the breed known as Demkeş in Turkey is a very close relative of the Bokhara Trumpeter. One of the main differences of the breeds the rose of Demkeş is not a complete circle like Bokhara and it does not cover the eyes and the beak. In relation to this the crest is also more distinguished in Bokhara compared to Demkeş. Demkeş has a distinct body shape and stand where Bokhara looks rather round compared to Demkeş and shows difference in its stand.
Demkeş is a voice breed. It is not kept for its flight or performance but for its beauty and singing. Singing style is the most important feature of this breed. Ones that sing nicely and for a long time are preferred. Singing time can not be less then 40-45 minutes. Their songs must be long and passionate. When flown they will not fly for long and show tendencies of landing right away. All birds in this breed come with long leg feathers that will bend towards the back of the bird. Demkeş can not be clean-legged. Again all birds are double crested and can not be plain headed. At times it is possible to run into plain headed or single crested birds but these birds are considered to be valueless cross-breeds.
Crest must be from one end of the neck to the other end but not as pronounced as Bokhara's. Rose can be circular or in a half circle shape. However, it must not cover the eyes and the beak. They have a rather thin and medium length beak. Based on the bird's color the color of the beak, nails and the eyes can vary. They are a rather large breed and heavier then most others. They have a short and thick neck and the chest sticks out forward, shaped rather round and wide. Legs are shorter then normal. Demkeş has a distinct shape and stance.
They are not very good parents. During the breeding season the rose is trimmed to improve sight. Again for production purposes the muffs and some of the feathers under the tail area is also trimmed during this time. At times it is advisable to use other breeds for care of their eggs.
There are many color variations in Demkeş. White, black, red, blue, yellow and scarlet brown are the self colors. There are also many white markings on these main colors.
Note: I would like to thank my dear friend Özgür Sorgun for his help on information and photos on Demkeş breed.