Milk lipid is secreted by a unique process, during which triacylglycerol droplets bud from mammary cells coated with an outer bilayer of apical membrane. In all current schemes, the integral protein butyrophilin 1A1 (BTN) is postulated to serve as a transmembrane scaffold, which interacts either with itself or with the peripheral proteins, xanthine oxidoreductase (XOR) and possibly perilipin-2 (PLIN2), to form an immobile bridging complex between the droplet and apical surface. In one such scheme, BTN on the surface of cytoplasmic lipid droplets interacts directly with BTN in the apical membrane without binding to either XOR or PLIN2. We tested these models using both biochemical and morphological approaches. BTN was concentrated in the apical membrane in all species examined and contained mature N-linked glycans. We found no evidence for the association of unprocessed BTN with intracellular lipid droplets. BTN-enhanced green fluorescent protein was highly mobile in areas of mouse milk-lipid droplets that had not undergone post-secretion changes, and endogenous mouse BTN comprised only 0.5-0.7% (w/w) of the total protein, i.e. over 50-fold less than in the milk-lipid droplets of cow and other species. These data are incompatible with models of milk-lipid secretion in which BTN is the major component of an immobile global adhesive complex and suggest that interactions between BTN and other proteins at the time of secretion are more transient than previously predicted. The high mobility of BTN in lipid droplets marks it as a potential mobile signaling molecule in milk.