It seems so counter intuitive, because with dogs and cats, if you are nice, they for the most part are nice. They like affection, and people like to give affection and feel that it is returned.
Chickens are a flock animal, and they all get along, as they figure out who is higher and who is lower by giving very distinct signals. Unfortunately people often time misinterpret these signals. You are recognizing that this is not what it seems like, many people without experience do not, until they are being flogged. Then come and say that the darling is now the nightmare. Chickens equate fear with respect. If they are not afraid of you, they don't respect you, and they will get bolder and bolder, eventually attacking to prove the point.
When a chicken goes up to another chicken, there are three possible responses. The second chicken can attack, chest bump, or peck. This is stating I am a higher chicken than the other. Or the chicken can squat down or run off and hide. That is saying I am a lower chicken than the other.
Often times the rooster is the most outgoing of the chicks, they are fearless, and come up to you so friendly. When people give them attention, it is like a hen cooing at the rooster, telling him how wonderful he is, and they believe that they are dominant. These are the chicks that will sit in your lap. They are not afraid. This is especially true of roosters that are raised with just flock mates. People are not in the coop 24/7. Most of the time, he is the top bird, and there is nothing bigger than him to teach him respect. In my experience roosters raised with just flock mates often times become aggressive to people.
So when the rooster comes up to you, toward you, he is asking, 'where are you in the pecking order? When you bend down and pick him up, he is not afraid, he is in the seat of power. He hears you say that he is above him.
if a rooster comes toward me, I stomp toward him till he moves off. If he does not move off fast enough, I chase him till he is pretty desperate to get away from me. If he puffs up, crows excessively when I am there, flaps his wings at me, sneaks around behind me, or stares at me, he is culled.
I think it is good that you are recognizing that something is not right. I, too, have a hobby for eggs and a bit of meat. I enjoy my flock, and any bird that does not make me happy is culled.
Edited by Mrs. K - 2/2/16 at 7:17pm