Abstract : We study the effect of discrete breathers (DBs) on the transfer of a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) in an optical lattice using the discrete nonlinear Schrödinger equation. In previous theoretical (primarily numerical) investigations of the dynamics of BECs in leaking optical lattices, collisions between a DB and a lattice excitation, e.g., a moving breather (MB) or phonon, were studied. These collisions led to the transmission of a fraction of the incident (atomic) norm of the MB through the DB, while the DB can be shifted in the direction of the incident lattice excitation. Here we develop an analytic understanding of this phenomenon, based on the study of a highly localized system--namely, a nonlinear trimer--which predicts that there exists a total energy threshold of the trimer, above which the lattice excitation can trigger the destabilization of the DB and that this is the mechanism leading to the movement of the DB. Furthermore, we give an analytic estimate of upper bound to the norm that is transmitted through the DB. We then show numerically that a qualitatively similar threshold exists in extended lattices. Our analysis explains the results of the earlier numerical studies and may help to clarify functional operations with BECs in optical lattices such as blocking and filtering coherent (atomic) beams.