This past Spring we invested in a milk machine that has proven to be a great addition to the farm many times over. Our milk production has increased from previous years and my arms just couldn't take the manual labor of hand milking any longer. I was spending my days with aching elbows and my nights tossing and turning because my inflamed muscles were causing my arms to fall asleep far more than I was sleeping.
We've enjoyed the milk machine and didn't even mind the daily cleaning and weekly disassembly for deep cleaning anywhere near as much as we thought we would. (For those interested, the machine we purchased after a lot of research was the Simple Pulse, with the additional 6 gallon tank)
However now our milk season is coming to and end and we've dried up all but one goat. She's our highest producer and doesn't seem to fair as well with stopping milking cold turkey like the other, smaller producing does can. Abbie is living milk machine herself and will keep producing through breeding season and beyond, I believe, if we were to let her.
So we've been slowing her down each day and letting her dry up slowly to avoid any problems. We are now back to hand milking since it seems silly to use the machine for a small amount of milk each day (right now about 1-2 quarts).
I have to say even milking this small amount each morning really has me appreciating that machine investment though. My muscles aren't used to this work anymore after a lazy summer of machine milking... When before that I was milking 1-2 gallons each morning without even thinking twice.
Our freezer is full of milk for soapmaking during the winter and early spring until we start up milk season again. Which means... It's breeding season for our goats. One season ends and another begins.