I have nice gentle hens, and I still don't like to get down at their level. They're greedy guts, and also, they're miniature T-Rexes without teeth. If they think something even MIGHT be food, they'll have a go at it. They can't help themselves, they have extremely small brains.
If I want to pet my hens, I wait until they 'squat' for me, then I pick them up. I certainly don't get down where they can say "Oh look, a nice shiny FACE! Let's TASTE it!"
Yes but in the chicken world that is a love peck....my red cochin has bloodied my lip twice just trying to groom me...she will groom my hair and my eyebrows if I let her. remember the lips and eyes can appear "shiny" to them also and you know how the feathered women love shiny things.
Our young Golden Comet is very sweet, too, and my daughter loves to hold her. One day she pecked at my daughter's face, fortunately not too hard but we later thought she was going for the little freckle that my daughter has on her chin. As much as I'd like to think their behavior at times is affection, really, it's just waiting for treats.... Again, tiny brains. They'll never be the ones to alert you that Timmy's fallen in the well or pull you out of a burning building. Unless there are sunflower seeds involved....