The history of Daisy in animation can be traced to the appearance of her precursor Donna Duck in the cartoon short Don Donald (first released on January 9, 1937), directed by Ben Sharpsteen. The plot had Donald courting Donna somewhere in Mexico. Donald rides a donkey and lets Donna also ride it, but unfortunately, Donna hates the animal. Angered at blowing his chances with Donna, Donald trades in his burro for a flashy red car. Donna loves the car – until it breaks down in the middle of nowhere, and Donna drives away on her unicycle, leaving Donald.
The short is important for introducing a romantic interest for Donald. But one should note that Donna had little in common with Daisy other than both being female ducks and sharing a temper. Donna was more or less a female version of Donald both in design and voice. Her voice was provided by Clarence Nash and was a slightly higher version of that of Donald (Daisy had the same voice in her official debut, Mr. Duck Steps Out). Donna was not intended as a recurring character and the Donald shorts of the following three years featured no female companion for him.
In Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #1 (published in 1940), Daisy Duck is named Donna in an image that appears based on Mr. Duck Steps Out. The image contains Donald and Daisy, with the text "Donald's got a girl! —and Donna thinks that HE'S just dandy. Because his heart is full of—candy!"
Donna returned in Bob Karp's Donald Duck daily strips from 1951, where she's a Mexican lady moving in as Donald's neighbor, causing Daisy to be jealous. This establishes the two as separate characters and marks the first time they appear together in a story.
Donna reappeared in a 2012 comic by Lars Jensen and Carlos Mota, called Too Many Donalds. In this story, Donna visits Duckburg together with her new boyfriend Whitewater Duck, Donald's distant cousin.
Confusingly, in spite of the above-mentioned comics showing Donna to be a separate character from Daisy, various other Disney products, such as the book Disney Dossiers: Files of Characters From the Walt Disney Studios and the Walt Disney Cartoon Classics: Starring Donald and Daisy VHS, refer to Donna and Daisy as being one and the same.