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A domestic animal, such as a cow, goat or sheep for the purpose of providing milk.
In Britain, the cow began to be the most popular milch animal by the early 16th century as enclosures continued; their owners found it more profitable to convert their milk straight into cheese and butter, and sell it at local markets or send it to larger towns. The whey and the buttermilk being sold as a drink in towns - they were both popular as thus until the end of the end of the 18th century.
Most of the rest was utilized as pig food; for example - tying in with growth of the pork pie industry and development of Stilton cheese in Leicestershire. But in backward areas of Northumberland ewes milk prevailed until the late 18th century; and in the mountains of Wales goats and ewes also retained their popularity. See also "Pork pies"; "Stilton cheese"